Apprenticeship Insight with Scottish Sea Farms
To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2021 we caught up with our Aquaculture Modern Apprenticeship provider, Scottish Sea Farms to find out why they back business talent through apprenticeships.
Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) has been producing premium quality, home-grown salmon for almost two decades, and have company roots that go back over twice as long. In that time, demand for Scottish farmed salmon has continued to grow, leading to an expansion of their farms and workforce.
One way for businesses to ensure a strong workforce and avoid skills shortages is through offering training and development opportunities to current employees.
Clare Jordan, Human Resources at SSF explains that “having people take on a MA has many benefits including an increased confidence in our staff. It widens their knowledge in so many ways and we feel it shows a real commitment to what they are doing if they are prepared to learn even more about it by undertaking a qualification.”
Andrew MacLennan, Farm Manager at SSF’s Fiunary site, adds that it has helped his employees “be more confident farm husbandryman/seniors/managers by challenging and supporting their own self development.”
As a learning provider Argyll College UHI helps to design and deliver the training in a way that is flexible to meet business needs. Andrew describes the benefits of this, stating “as a manager I sometimes get caught up in the farm and the apprenticeship would take a back seat, but the college staff are very good at understanding the pressures you can be under doing the apprenticeship alongside your full-time job and help get you back on track.”
Since the creation of the MA, SSF have seen a huge increase in staff wanting to take up the opportunity. Clare recommends apprenticeships as a route to upskill your workforce “especially in those sectors that are less known to the general public. It gives your staff an opportunity to gain a qualification and having better qualified staff is always a good thing!”
Agreeing, Andrew adds “it’s a great way to develop your employees, give them more understanding and knowledge of their roles which will make them more confident, more self-challenging, engaging employees, looking for better ways to improve not just what they do, but other roles within the business.”
To find out more about how we can support employers to recruit and train apprentices, and more information about the Apprenticeship Employer Grant, join us for our free Employer Information Session on Thursday 4th March at 10am.
Current Modern Apprentice Finlay tells us about his experience so far.
Why did you choose to do a Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture?
“I have ambitions to progress my career in aquaculture and see a Modern Apprenticeship as a really good way to gain more knowledge. Many SSF staff have taken part in the Modern Apprenticeship scheme before, including my manager and they also encouraged me to take part.”
What have you learnt so far?
“I have learnt a lot more about how a farm is run and what things need to be taken into consideration at different times and for different events. I have also learned that there are different ways of doing some things, there’s not always one right answer! I have expanded my knowledge in a number of fields and had to find answers to questions that I hadn’t considered before.”
What have you enjoyed about your apprenticeship?
“I have enjoyed learning more about my farm and aquaculture in general. The units that the course is made up of are quite diverse, so I was able to choose units that I found interesting or I wanted to learn more about.”
Has it helped you to think about your future?
“Yes, I am currently the Senior Husbandry and fish health specialist on my farm and have ambitions to progress to farm manager in the near future. This apprenticeship has given me more knowledge and allowed me to explore some areas of aquaculture that I may not be involved with regularly on site.”
What would you say to someone considering an apprenticeship?
“Go for it! My assessor and manager have been very helpful and supportive as I’ve been progressing through the course and I’ve really enjoyed getting the opportunity to learn more about aquaculture and the work that goes on outside of my day-to-day job on the farm.”