Re­cruit­ment drive as salmon in­dus­try grows

Fish Farmer - - Students Told To Shine -

THE salmon farm­ing in­dus­try in Scot­land has growth as­pi­ra­tions and to achieve these it is go­ing to need more peo­ple.

There is, there­fore, a re­cruit­ment drive go­ing on, with nu­mer­ous jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able in the sec­tor, said Iain Ber­rill of the Scot­tish Salmon Pro­duc­ers Or­gan­i­sa­tion (SSPO), giv­ing a salmon in­dus­try per­spec­tive on ca­reers in aqua­cul­ture.

Ber­rill stressed the im­por­tance of mak­ing con­tacts: ‘We’re a very close knit in­dus­try…the most im­por­tant thing is about re­la­tion­ships.’

The salmon com­pa­nies in Scot­land are mostly large busi­nesses, highly struc­tured and with se­ri­ous in­vest­ment in their staff.

‘There are ex­cel­lent ca­reer prospects in salmon farm­ing, the salaries are re­ally good, and it’s a very sta­ble in­dus­try with a pool of very sig­nif­i­cant busi­nesses.’

There are nu­mer­ous roles, in­clud­ing farm man­agers, pro­duc­tion direc­tors, moor­ings ex­perts, engi­neers, boat crew, lo­gis­tics, bi­ol­o­gists, vet­eri­nar­i­ans, fish health man­agers, nu­tri­tion­ists, feed an­a­lysts, lab­o­ra­tory man­agers, sales, train­ing and fi­nances, among oth­ers.

There is plenty of scope to move within these roles as your skills de­velop, said Ber­rill, and new re­cruits can work their way up from, say, as­sis­tant farm man­ager, to farm man­ager, re­gional man­ager, and then pro­duc­tion direc­tor.

‘There are even roles for trans­la­tors – our busi­nesses sell to over 50 coun­tries glob­ally and if you speak a for­eign lan­guage it’s very use­ful.’

He said a com­mon ques­tion from stu­dents is. ‘how do I get into this sec­tor when over qual­i­fied but lack­ing in ex­pe­ri­ence’. Ber­rill’s ad­vice was to go in at the bot­tom and work your way up. ‘If you’ve got ex­pe­ri­ence it’s hugely valu­able and once you are iden­ti­fied as some­one who has the aca­demic skills as well as that ex­pe­ri­ence, the op­por­tu­nity to progress is huge.’

He men­tioned Mowi’s head of cleaner fish, Dougie Hunter, as a case study to demon­strate the route to top jobs in a big or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Hunter started as a tech­ni­cian for Mowi on the Lochailort feed trial units and worked his way up to as­sis­tant man­ager. Then he started man­ag­ing that fa­cil­ity, be­fore mov­ing into a more re­search and de­vel­op­ment role.

He was tech­ni­cal ser­vices man­ager and that role ex­panded to cover fish health, en­vi­ron­ment, qual­ity as­sur­ance and re­search.

Five or six years ago he was re­lo­cated to Canada to be sea­wa­ter pro­duc­tion direc­tor. And ear­lier this year he came back and is now head of cleaner fish and tech­ni­cal for Mowi Scot­land, one of the key se­nior man­agers in the lead­er­ship team.

Ber­rill told the stu­dents to work out what they wanted from a job and to ex­ploit their valu­able trans­fer­able skills.

‘You don’t re­alise some of the things you have learnt (at univer­sity) - your at­ten­tion to de­tail, and your abil­ity to com­press com­plex in­for­ma­tion into bite size chunks.’

And he said that set­backs can act as mo­ti­va­tion: af­ter com­plet­ing his PhD at Stir­ling he spent 18 months temp­ing, work­ing in a call cen­tre, a tough but mo­ti­vat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Above: The SSPO’s Iain Ber­rill gives jobs ad­vice to stu­dents

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