New initiative to improve salmon industry training – Fishupdate.com

New initiative to improve salmon industry training Published:  29 October, 2007

Sid Patten

THE Scottish salmon farming industry must be developed into a much more attractive career prospect for the right people, according to an industry leader.

Speaking at the ‘Ministerial Working Group on Aquaculture’ on Tuesday, Sid Patten, Chief Executive of Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), will tell the Minister for Environment Michael Russell that the industry is to embark on a new study to identify the skills needs in the salmon farming sector.

Entitled ‘Salmon farming: meeting the industry’s future needs’, and supported by Lantra, the Sector Skills Council for aquaculture, the initiative will consider the need for the industry to develop and implement a framework for the progression and development of its workforce.

“Promoting salmon farming as an attractive career opportunity and providing access to appropriate training are vital factors in the industry achieving its full potential,” said Patten.

“A detailed analysis of our sector is required. As our industry matures and becomes recognised as a key player in the business community and the Scottish economy, it must continue to demonstrate its ambition and willingness to adopt formal systems to address education and training at all levels.

“The demands and responsibilities of working in aquaculture require high levels of competence and specialist knowledge. Training and skills development are seen as crucial to the future sustainability of the sector and our industry’s ability to help reverse the decline in populations in coastal communities across the west coast and islands of Scotland,” he added.

Liz Paul, Lantra’s Regional Partnership Manager for the Highlands and Islands, said: “Upskilling of the workforce is part of Lantra’s core work and we are delighted that the SSPO recognises the need for improving skills and the importance of training.

“As the Sector Skills Council for aquaculture we are very much concerned with challenging the old fashioned image of salmon farming as an industry with low skill requirements and limited opportunities. It is imperative that the industry promotes a professional image and offers clear, structured career paths in order to attract a high calibre of new entrants.

“Choice and quality of learning and development is very important to ensure it matches the needs of employers and employees in style, size, timing and location, and will lead to an improvement in productivity,” she added.

Among the new initiative’s top priorities will be the provision of training to people in sometimes remote and rural areas, and considering the establishment of new vocational qualifications.

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