Year of Young People
2018 is the Year of Young People in Scotland. Our sector is proud to employ people of all ages and backgrounds, and particularly pleased to be able to offer rewarding careers to people starting off in life after school, college and university. Salmon farming is one of the key sectors helping to support the rural economy in the Highlands and Islands and offers good career opportunities for young people to stay in the region. It is as true now, in this Year of Young People, as it has ever been.
SSPO has been speaking to a number of younger employees, or ‘rising stars’ as we like to think of them, to find out their stories. In this article, Lynne from Scottish Sea Farms shares her experiences of working in Scotland’s aquaculture industry.
Lynne Frame, Scottish Sea Farms
What does your job involve?
I work in our Freshwater department specialising in RAS (Recirculating Aquaculture Systems). That involves feeding back the knowledge gained from a 19 month secondment in Norway to aid our new RAS Smolt project in Barcaldine, Argyll. I also support our current Freshwater operations and am involved in projects including the industry wide Saprolegnia research.
What got you into salmon farming?
After studying Chemistry at Edinburgh University, I went to New Zealand for a working holiday. Whilst there I was involved in Greenshell Mussel Farming for the North Island’s largest producer. I used to read Aquaculture NZ and became very interested in salmon farming too. It seemed like the salmon industry and associated technology was advancing at a very fast rate and I wanted to be part of such an exciting sector. While in NZ, I applied for an environmental analyst’s role with SSF – taking water quality samples had been a big part of my job on the mussel farm, and it tied in with my degree. They offered me a role in the supply chain department, which they thought would suit my skills and I returned to Scotland in 2014.
What excites you most about the sector?
The rate at which technology advances are enhancing and improving production, alongside the talented people involved in the sector and their determination to succeed in driving further investment in R&D.
Why do you enjoy what you do?
I enjoy what I do because every day is different, and I can use the skills learned over the years to help overcome any challenges we might face. Ienjoy the diverse range of people I have met through my role and their willingness to share knowledge to drive innovation and progress in the industry.
What advice would you give to other young people considering a career in the salmon farming sector?
Take the opportunities. Be prepared to work hard but it’s a fantastic industry to be involved in. Try to take on a summer placement in aquaculture while studying, because the hands on practical experience is invaluable. Finally, take an interest and read up on what is going on in the aquaculture industry globally.
How does technology/digital transformation improve your work?
Producing smolt in a RAS enables us to have more control over environmental parameters and ensure we have the optimal conditions for fish health and welfare. We can therefore produce more robust smolts before they are transferred to our marine sites.
Was salmon farming an opportunity for you to return to, or stay in your local community?
Yes, I grew up in Argyll. At 17 I moved to Edinburgh to study, after graduating I lived in NZ for 3 years, before returning to Argyll to work in the salmon industry. SSF then gave me the opportunity to be seconded to Norway to work with our parent companies Lerøy and SalMar. I am now back and settled in Argyll near our new facility at Barcaldine.
How does your company and community work together?
We fund local projects, often in the rural locations where we farm, through its dedicated ‘Heart of the Community Fund’.We employ lots of people in these areas and it’s important to support staff inside and outside of work, as well as the wider communities in which we operate. A recent example of our local community support took place in May when over 120 people helped raise £52,000 through a triathlon involving staff, family and friends to purchase a new lifeboat for the RNLI.