Study to identify skill needs on farms
A STUDY to identify the skills needed to help the Scottish aquaculture sector meet is growth targets has been launched by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.
Companies in aquaculture and related services are being invited to take part in the project, which emerged from the industry’s Vision 2030 report, setting out plans to double output.
The study will involve consultation and survey work to explore the scale and composition of the aquaculture workforce, the current and future skills requirements of the sector and the skills pipeline that feeds it.
Findings will inform the development of an Industry Workforce Planning Strategy and Action Plan.
Stewart Graham, managing director of Gael Force and cochair of the Aquaculture Industry Leadership Group which is overseeing the strategy for growth, said: ‘Feedback from the finfish producers has consistently been that people and their skills are a Fergus Ewing significant potential constraint to our sector’s growth plans.
‘This of course is closely tied to the availability and affordability of rural housing, which is a high level challenge for the government and private sector supply.
‘Skills mapping, however, is something the industry can and must take a lead on now to plan for the future, and I would plead with all producers and the wider supply chain to fully engage with this mapping exercise so that we can get ahead of the curve on our future skills needs.’
Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: ‘This government is committed to supporting Scotland’s aquaculture sector to continue to grow in a sustainable way.This mapping work will help to ensure that we have the right skills in the right places in the sector and have a plan in place to address any gaps, and I would encourage all with an interest to participate.
‘Being the workplace of choice and attracting a diverse and multi skilled workforce will be essential to maintaining the momentum and ambition within the sector.’
Highlands and Islands Enterprise has commissioned Ekosgen and Imani Development to undertake the study, and they will be contacting businesses in the aquaculture sector and its supply chain over the next few weeks to invite them to take part in a consultation or online survey.