Call for working group to support women in aquaculture
THE Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) has called for industry support for a working group to encourage more women to join the aquaculture sector.
A recent survey conducted by SAIC found overwhelming support for such a group, with nearly three quarters (73 per cent) of respondents saying they would join it if set up.
When asked what the purpose of the group should be, nearly nine out of 10 respondents said that it should provide networking support to others already working, or considering a career, in UK aquaculture.
Two thirds agreed that it should raise awareness of women working in UK aquaculture through, for example, social media and case studies.
SAIC’s survey, launched in May this year, received 173 responses in total, 91 per cent from women and nine per cent from men.
The survey attracted interest across the aquaculture industry, with 67 per cent of respondents working in the private sector, 29 per cent in research or academia, and five per cent in the public sector.
Some 88 per cent of responses were from people based in Scotland, and 60 per cent were aged under 40, with 20 per cent self-declaring as students or recent graduates (within the last eight years) so probably under 30.
The SAIC survey follows of for Sector port, Highlands Enterprise of Industry Group. This the the the commissioned Aquaculture showed Skills in Aquaculture the Leadership Scotland and on publication Review behalf Islands that re- by aquaculture subjects such chemistry, further training as education biology continue at and school, related in and to and be dominated enrolments production Ninety per by and on cent males. fish fisher- of ies courses were further men, in 2015/16 and education the vast starting majority an aquaculture of people Modern ship were Apprentice- male. er SAIC Jones CEO said Heath- it was statistics like these that promoted SAIC to conduct its survey, which has ‘clearly demonstrated strong un-met for cross-sector for aquaculture’. being at Producers’ isation company ‘As the cross-industry, women well women Scottish and demand Dawnfresh, as trout Organ- in there support leaders UK Salmon there numbers and women uaculture,’ talented are working of increasing said brilliant younger Jones. in aqshowcase their ‘But progress we need and highlight in to scientific, academic technical roles, for and the others. encouragement of ‘Over half of our survey respondents are willing to contribute to a Women in UK Aquaculture Group, with over 40 per cent willing to offer mentoring to another woman, and another 40 per cent happy to provide advice or guidance to others in the level we ‘It’s are group. of because now support in of the that this process of bringing interested parties together to get a group up and running, with a view to the industry taking it on to drive it forward.’ Tracy Bryant-Shaw, HR director at Scottish Sea Farms, said:‘Attracting more women into our company is something we’ve been working hard on in recent years, with great results. ‘Already this year, two of our female employees have been named Finfish Farm Manager of the Year and Rising Star, accolades we hope will inspire others to consider a career with us. ‘So we are fully supportive of this new initiative to encourage, support and develop women at sector level.’
Above: Women in aquaculture - on SAIC’s stand at Aviemore