Aquaculture apprentice programme gains 50 new recruits –

Aquaculture apprentice programme gains 50 new recruits Published:  11 June, 2013

The Marine Science and Technology Department of the NAFC Marine Centre has reached a significant milestone by recruiting over 50 new candidates onto their recently revamped Modern Apprenticeship (MA) in Aquaculture Level 3 programme.

The NAFC Marine Centre is now, by a large margin, the leading national supplier of Aquaculture MA’s to industry.

The current cohort of MA candidates are employed by one of three companies, the Meridian Salmon Group, Hjaltland Seafarms Ltd, and Scottish Seafarms, at marine farm sites across both the Shetland and Orkney production regions.

Kenny Gifford, the department’s aquaculture vocational training manager, said: “The successful delivery of vocational training requires a significant investment from both the candidate, their employer and the delivery and assessment team, and I have been very impressed by the commitment shown by our company partners and the candidates alike. For me, it’s extremely satisfying to be involved with the training development of new entrants into the industry, as well as helping older candidates gain formal recognition of their collected knowledge and experience.”

The NAFC’s senior development manager Alan Bourhill added: “The 10-fold growth we have seen in the demand for the MA in Aquaculture training can be attributed to a number of factors, including the recent redevelopment of the National Occupational Standards for aquaculture which has brought the training framework right up to date, the incorporation of additional short course provision within the NAFC’s enhanced MA programme, making it a much more attractive product for companies, and the business-like approach of our aquaculture development section team.”

Ishbel Crawford, Lantra’s regional partnership manager for the Highlands and Islands, said: “In the rapidly developing industry that is aquaculture, in Scotland and across the globe, it is vital that the industry is supported by a highly skilled workforce.

“The on-the-job training delivered through the Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture allows employers to train their staff without losing them for weeks on end to college, and it allows the workers to develop their skills whilst earning at the same time.

“Aquaculture businesses across the country are picking up on this and, over the past few years, the numbers registered on levels 2 and 3 of the Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture have risen from around six in 2009, to around 100 at the moment.

“I am delighted to see that the industry is recognising the benefits of the Modern Apprenticeship and look forward to seeing a continued and steady growth in businesses registering existing staff and bringing in new entrants as Modern Apprentices. I applaud the NAFC’s contribution to the significant growth in the numbers we see today.”