Unst trainee salmon farmer scoops prize for excellence

The NAFC Marine Centre ‘Most outstanding SVQ Aquaculture Level 3 Student Award’ has been revealed as Sam Spence, a farm worker and Modern Apprentice from Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, at the annual prize-giving event today (Tuesday 21 February).

Farm worker Sam who lives and works on Unst, Shetland, was first recruited to the industry by Cooke Aquaculture Scotland in 2013. He successfully completed SVQ Level 2 prior to achieving SVQ 3 where he has excelled in areas of practical skills and written theory.

Careers in salmon farming have transformed in recent years to adapt to the sophisticated technological innovations in which the industry invests.

There are many more learning opportunities and professional careers for employees than ever before, helping to make salmon farming a very attractive industry to work in.

The award was introduced by Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) Shetland last year to recognise the achievements of the students and to mark the role aquaculture plays in rural communities. There are 413 people working in salmon farming in Shetland alone.

David Sandison, General Manager for SSPO Shetland said:

“The judges had tough decisions to make choosing between the enthusiastic students who are all producing very good quality work but Sam pipped his peers to the post on this occasion thanks to his excellent written work and exceptional practical skills. I’d personally like to congratulate Sam on a job well done!”

Colin Blair, Managing Director of Cooke Aquaculture Scotland said:

“We are delighted that Sam has been recognised and rewarded for his hard work in completing the programme. He is one of the 13 people on Modern Apprenticeships in Shetland. As a company, we strongly believe that providing our staff with key skills and formal qualifications is a head start for them in the field they want to work in and a fantastic way for us to attract enthusiastic talents with fresh ideas”