Shetland salmon farm in staffing bid Published: 25 February, 2008
A SMALL, remote and industrious Scottish island community is trying to attract migrant workers in a bid to boost the local workforce.
In a unique move, Shetland Islands Council and its business investment arm Shetland Development Trust, have now agreed to pay for two accommodation chalets to be erected on the island of Out Skerries.
The 75 island residents are struggling to cope with the workload in the community-owned fish factory Bound Skerries Seafood which processes organic salmon reared on the island.
The factory employs up to 12 people but finds it impossible to attract new workers due to the lack of suitable accommodation on the 500 acre isle, 24 miles north east of Lerwick, which also has three full time whitefish trawlers and a number of scallop boats.
Bound Skerries Seafoods managing director John Weston said they had work for five to six extra people, and would welcome new families to boost the population for whom the chalets could be their first temporary accommodation.
“We have five people working full time on the salmon farm. The fish is then being processed in our own factory. We now have enough fish to keep the factory going all year round,” Mr Weston said.
“But that brings the problem that we don’t have enough full time staff here. We have three full time in the factory and anybody else who is available is coming to help part time, including the fishing crews that are off for that week.
Over recent years, Skerries has bounced back from troubled times. In 2003 the isle’s salmon farm went into receivership due to worldwide over production and the subsequent collapse of prices.
But five years later, with the emphasis on organic salmon and the revival of the fishing industry, islanders are busy as never before.
The development trust has now agreed to grant the community £31,400 which will go towards preparing site foundations and getting the chalets, which are being donated by the council, out to Skerries.
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