Five aquaculture finalists in awards

RISING stars in the aquaculture industry Hayley Eccles, Lisa Askham, Marcos Garcia, Martin Mladenov and Matthew Anderson have been shortlisted for Lantra Scotland’s Learner of the Year Awards 2016.
The winners will be announced at the Land based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards ceremony, on Thursday, March 3, 2016 at the Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro Hotel.
Hayley, 31, from Strathcarron in the Highlands, has recently finished a Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in Aquaculture at Scottish Sea Farms and Inverness College UHI.
She is working as a freshwater technician at the Couldoran Hatchery in Kishorn. Hayley’s devotion to animal welfare is one of her key attributes, which is vital for someone working in a salmon hatchery.
Lisa, 24, from Lochcarron, has completed her Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 2 in Aquaculture at Inverness College UHI while working as a freshwater operative at Russelburn Hatchery, Kishorn, owned by the Scottish Salmon Company.
Lisa understands the importance of fish health, fish husbandry, and the importance of a stable environment to maximise production and ensure the fish are stress free and healthy.
Marcos, 23, originally from Portugal and now living in Newtonstewart in County Tyrone, studied Zoology at Cardiff University, before completing an MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture at Stirling University.
He then went on to join the Dawnfresh Graduate Programme where he now works as an assistant farm manager.
In September last year, Marcos’ site won the Dawnfresh Team of the Month award. His ambition is to become a farm manager.
Martin, 29, has completed his Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in Aquaculture at Scottish Sea Farms and NAFC Marine Centre, part of the University of Highlands and Islands.
He is working as a husbandryman for SSF, feeding and monitoring salmon, observing behaviour, taking weekly samples and making sure they remain healthy. His ambition is to become a site manager.
Matthew, 23, from Oban did a BA (Hons) Degree in Aquaculture and is now working as an assistant farm manager for Dawnfresh Farming.
He is looking to develop his technical and managerial skills with a view to stepping up into a farm manager’s role. He also has plans to attend the other leadership programmes.
Organised by Lantra Scotland, the sector skills council for the land based, aquaculture and environmental industries, the awards recognise Scotland’s most talented trainees from across the rural sector, as well as encouraging employers to invest in skills for the future.
There are a total of 15 categories, including Modern Apprentice of the Year, and the highlight of the ceremony will be the announcement of the overall winner and runner-up for Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year.
This award recognises the person who has demonstrated an extraordinary willingness to learn and dedication to their chosen profession. Last year’s winner was Callum Low, a Game and Wildlife trainee from Arbroath.
Picture: Marcos Garcia of Dawnfresh