Farm man­ager course launched

Fish Farmer - - United Kingdom News -

THIR­TEEN se­nior fish farm staff from five salmon farm­ing com­pa­nies have en­rolled on a new pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment pro­gramme in aqua­cul­ture man­age­ment de­vel­oped by the NAFC Marine Cen­tre UHI.

The farm­ers, in­clud­ing seven from Shet­land salmon farms and six from else­where in Scot­land, are the first to en­rol on NAFC’s new de­gree level Tech­ni­cal Ap­pren­tice­ship in Aqua­cul­ture Man­age­ment.

The pro­gramme is the first of its kind in the UK and has been de­vel­oped by NAFC staff in re­sponse to de­mand from Scot­tish fish farm­ing com­pa­nies. It will en­able ex­pe­ri­enced fish farm staff to gain a qual­i­fi­ca­tion in se­nior man­age­ment while work­ing in the in­dus­try.

The flex­i­ble train­ing pro­gramme, which will nor­mally take about 24 months to com­plete, uses dis­tance learn­ing tech­nol­ogy to al­low can­di­dates to study at times and places that suit them and which fit in with their work and other com­mit­ments.

Can­di­dates can en­rol on the pro­gramme at any time and are sup­ported and as­sessed by NAFC staff through­out their train­ing.

On suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the pro­gramme they will re­ceive a Scot­tish Vo­ca­tional Qual­i­fi­ca­tion at Level 4 from the Scot­tish Qualifications Au­thor­ity (SQA), which is equiv­a­lent to an Or­di­nary De­gree (SCQF Level 9), as well as a Lantra Tech­ni­cal Ap­pren­tice­ship Cer­tifi­cate funded by Skills Devel­op­ment Scot­land.

Course leader Stu­art Fitzsim­mons said: ‘Fol­low­ing the suc­cess­ful in­tro­duc­tion of our Mod­ern Ap­pren­tice­ships in Aqua­cul­ture for new and ex­pe­ri­enced fish farm staff, we had a lot of in­ter­est from aqua­cul­ture com­pa­nies in a train­ing pro­gramme for their man­agers.

‘The Tech­ni­cal Ap­pren­tice­ship in Aqua­cul­ture Man­age­ment has been de­signed to meet that need and to pro­vide a pro­gres­sion op­por­tu­nity for staff who have com­pleted the Mod­ern Ap­pren­tice­ships.

‘It will al­low se­nior aqua­cul­ture staff to gain a man­age­ment qual­i­fi­ca­tion while work­ing in the in­dus­try, and build­ing on their ex­ist­ing knowl­edge, ex­pe­ri­ence and skills.

‘The use of dis­tance learn­ing, sup­ported by NAFC staff, means that peo­ple from any­where in Scot­land can un­der­take this train­ing at times and places that suit them, with­out hav­ing to at­tend col­lege classes.’

The NAFC Marine Cen­tre cur­rently has more than 50 aqua­cul­ture staff en­rolled on its Mod­ern Ap­pren­tice­ships in Aqua­cul­ture at Level 2 or Level 3, with more than 150 hav­ing al­ready com­pleted one of these pro­grammes.The cen­tre re­ceived a glow­ing re­view of its ex­ist­ing aqua­cul­ture train­ing pro­gramme ear­lier this sum­mer, said Fitzsim­mons, fol­low­ing an au­dit by the Scot­tish Qualifications Au­thor­ity (SQA).

The NAFC Marine Cen­tre is also launch­ing two new short train­ing cour­ses for the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try: Cap­stan Winch Safety Aware­ness; and Jet Wash­ing Safety Aware­ness.These have again been de­vel­oped in re­sponse to de­mand and com­ple­ment the cen­tre’s ex­ist­ing suite of short cour­ses cov­er­ing dif­fer­ent as­pects of aqua­cul­ture op­er­a­tions.

NAFC’s aca­demic qual­ity man­ager Dun­can Kid­son said: ‘The launch of the Tech­ni­cal Ap­pren­tice­ship in Aqua­cul­ture Man­age­ment and the new short cour­ses demon­strate NAFC’s abil­ity and will­ing­ness to re­spond to the train­ing needs of the Scot­tish aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try and to de­liver that train­ing in a flex­i­ble man­ner to meet the needs of the peo­ple work­ing in the in­dus­try.’

Above: The NAFC Marine Cen­tre in Shet­land

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