Rising Stars | Ellie Longstaff

Rising Stars | The 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.

Ellie Longstaff (21) – Stornoway Processing Team Leader, Marybank

Undertaking SVQ II in Food & Drink Operations / Fish and Shellfish Processing Skills

1) What is your job and what does it involve?

As Processing Team Leader, I am in charge of the filleting line at The Scottish Salmon Company’s Marybank processing facility. This involves working on the filleting line with my team, ensuring the smooth running of operations, and playing a supporting role to the supervisors.

2) What got you into salmon farming?

Salmon farming is a bit of a family tradition and one that I’m proud to carry on. Both my father and grandfather work with The Scottish Salmon Company, my father as team leader at another processing department while my grandfather is the processing plant manager. I like that I am able to follow in their footsteps in the industry.

3) What most excites you about the sector?

It’s exciting to be part of one of Scotland’s thriving export industries. I’m really passionate about the Scottish salmon farming sector because there are so many opportunities that wouldn’t be available to me otherwise. For example, alongside my normal work, I’m currently doing qualifications in Food & Drink Operations and Fish and ShellFish Processing Skills, something I wouldn’t have known was achievable before having the support of The Scottish Salmon Company.

4) Why do you enjoy what you do?

I enjoy what I do because there is such a great working environment at The Scottish Salmon Company’. My colleagues and I always work to make each day the best it can be. The Scottish Salmon Company provide a great support system.

5) What advice would you give to other young people considering a career in the salmon farming sector?

I would encourage them to go for it and get into the industry. The job is so varied, and involves so much more than working directly with the salmon. There are lots of training and courses where you’ll learn skills that will help you in your current and future roles – no matter where your career takes you!

6) How does technology/digital transformation improve your work?

Technology helps in us in our everyday work, for example helping us be more accurate. This, in turn, helps production go at a faster pace, meaning we’re able to process higher volumes of salmon while ensuring we are still producing the highest quality Scottish salmon.

7) Was salmon farming an opportunity for you to return to, or stay in your local community?

Before working at The Scottish Salmon Company’, I thought there weren’t good employment opportunities on the island for young people. However, I’ve been fortunate to be able to start on a good career path and to stay in the community I grew up in, close to my family and friends.

8) How does your company and community work together?

There is a real culture of collaboration at The Scottish Salmon Company. All of the staff work brilliantly together, with a good level of communication internally and with the local people. I know the staff are proud to support each other and the surrounding community.