Marine Harvest, which has a large number of fish farming sites across the Western Isles, is launching an apprenticeship scheme
Alan Sutherland of Marine Harvest explained: “Often young people in these areas are forced to move away to get work so we’re delighted to be able to offer this apprenticeship scheme.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to develop a career in a successful industry. The image of fish farming as an unskilled labouring job is very out-dated – today’s fish farmers are highly skilled and our apprentices will gain skills and qualifications which are greatly in demand both here and across the world.
“But salmon farming could never be described as a desk job and the apprenticeships are likely to appeal to people who like working in the outdoors and are not averse to a bit of bad weather.”
Marine Harvest Scotland is the largest salmon farming company in Scotland, with four hatcheries, four freshwater loch sites and 30 sea farms spread across the Western Highlands and Islands.
In 2009 the company announced a major expansion to meet increasing demand and has recently opened two new farms in the Western Isles. A new £16 million smolt rearing plant is currently being built at Lochailort, the original home of farmed salmon in Scotland.
Marine Harvest Scotland plans to recruit two apprentices a year, aged between 16 and 20. During their two year apprenticeship they will undertake a mixture of formal training, practical work experience and in-house training in all aspects of the aquaculture industry from gutting fish to basic sea survival.
The apprenticeship, which will include an SVQ2 Level 2 Aquaculture qualification, will follow the salmon farming process from fish hatchery through growing the fish at seawater sites through to the harvesting and packing of the fish.
The recruits will be guaranteed a job at the end of the two year apprenticeship but must be willing to move anywhere within the company. Applicants must hold Standard Grades (Level 1 to 3) or GCSE’s (Level A – C) in English, Maths and Science.