Graduates trained to be ‘industry ready’

THE aquaculture leaders of tomorrow are being given personal development training in a bid to improve their prospects in the industry.

Ten BSc and MSc graduates, all of whom have already secured 18-month paid placements with businesses in the sector, will take part in the new Junior Executive Development Programme, spearheaded by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC).

Under the scheme they will take part in sessions tailored to enhancing on-the-job learning and boosting their employability.

Cori Critchlow-Watton, SAIC’s skills ambassador, said: ‘The industry has set out clear ambitions to double output by 2030, along with the strategic priorities for achieving this growth – strong leadership and a skilled workforce, amongst them.

‘The SAIC graduate programme, with its mix of on-site learning and personal development, is designed to deliver both, shaping confident, capable, commercially aware employees who are able to advance into leadership positions as soon they become available.’

The programme comprises workshops, one-to-one coaching and special projects. Topics covered will include core business attributes, such as time management, communication and presentation skills; the importance of a strong customer focus; and understanding the regulator’s role.

The companies involved in the work placements include BioMar, Gael Force Group, Loch Duart, Marine Harvest Scotland and Scottish Sea Farms.

Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland, said: ‘Encouraging a steady stream of new candidates into the sector is vital to the prosperity of Scottish aquaculture, but so too is ensuring that those candidates are ‘industry ready’. The SAIC graduate programme is an important step towards achieving both.

‘This is a highly scientific industry that moves at a fast pace and we need to attract talent equipped to join a fantastic but challenging food production business, which is core to the rural development of Scotland.’

Pauline Donnelly, HR manager at BioMar, said: ‘A scheme such as this gives us, as employers, an opportunity to nurture emerging talent from an early stage, while giving graduates the best possible head start for a successful career in the sector.’

Other skills oriented programmes in the industry include undergraduate internships in collaboration with ScotGrad, funded MSc places that involve industry led applied research projects, postgraduate conference grants, and ‘Managing and Leading the Team’ training for first-time managers.

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