Year of Young People
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.
Stephanie Horn, The Scottish Salmon Company
What is your job and what does it involve?
Cleaner Fish Supervisor. I’m responsible for developing, implementing and supervising the husbandry, health and welfare of cleaner fish. I deal with different stakeholders, carry out trials and monitor the success of our cleaner fish programme. Right now though, I’m on secondment to our Ardyne site as an Assistant Marine Site Manager.
What got you into salmon farming?
I first became interested during my undergraduate degree, when I took a module focused on aquaculture. I became really passionate about it and went on to study an MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture. I then decided I wanted to put what I’d learned into practice working in the Scottish salmon farming industry.
What most excites you about the sector?
Technological advancements within the sector. The pace at which new and novel farming practices, like cleaner fish, are coming online is really exciting.
Why do you enjoy what you do?
I am very lucky in that I am doing work I have a genuine interest in, and I work with a great team in some of the most beautiful parts of Scotland.
What advice would you give to other young people considering a career in the salmon farming sector?
Find a route into the industry that works for you; there is more than one path into salmon farming – you can study aquaculture, or start off by working on a site or take on an apprenticeship. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach but there are so many great opportunities and a huge variety of roles.
How does technology/digital transformation improve your work?
Communication is key within aquaculture. The ways in which farming teams can communicate with each other, disseminate new industry knowledge and then record data have all greatly improved in recent years. These advances in technology have allowed the cleaner fish programme to really take off within The Scottish Salmon Company and with all salmon farmers globally.
Was salmon farming an opportunity for you to return to, or stay in your local community?
I’m from Glasgow, so taking up a career in salmon farming meant moving away from the city. SSC operates in some of Scotland’s most beautiful locations and having the opportunity to move around has been great.
How does your company and community work together?
SSC runs a number of different programmes which benefit local communities. For example, we have a Community Fund offering grants to local organisations and causes, such as charities, sports teams and food banks. SSC is also a proud supporter of popular local events like Highland Games which take place near our farms. Local people can engage with the staff to learn more about salmon farming and even sample some quality salmon.