Women working at Mowi Scotland's Carradale site. The Scottish Government and Lantra Scotland are offering training worth £500 for women who are in or wish to join the sector. Photo: Mowi / Upfront Photography / Dynam.

Women offered free training in aquaculture skills

A £100,000 scheme will provide greater opportunities for women working in or interested in a career in the aquaculture and rural sectors, the Scottish Government has announced.

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The Women in the Rural Economy Training Fund will give women the chance to develop their skills and talents with the help of practical training.

The scheme will be administered by Lantra Scotland and will provide practical, skills training with full funding of up to £500 per course. Support for courses above this value will be assessed on a case-by-case basis by a review panel.

The fund is open to any woman resident in Scotland who is either already working in or studying in the sector, full-time or part-time, or who is keen to start work in this area, who can demonstrate how the training course will support the development of their business or employment options.

Gender imbalance

The initiative is intended to address the current gender imbalance within a range of industries, including aquaculture, conservation, fisheries, forestry, horticulture, land-based engineering and wildlife management, amongst others.

A similar scheme, the Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund, was launched in January.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing said: “There is a clear need for providing women in our rural communities with more access to training and reskilling opportunities. We know that the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on women’s jobs and incomes.”

Liz Barron-Majerik: "This is great news for rural Scotland."

Diversity is strength

Lantra Scotland director Liz Barron-Majerik said: “We are delighted to be able to play our part in helping to support women access and develop careers in the rural land-based and aquaculture sector, and to extend the work we are already doing with the Women in Agriculture Practical Training Fund.

“Businesses with a diverse workforce are more resilient, able to appeal to a wider market, and better placed to solve problems in innovative ways. This is great news for rural Scotland.”

Courses eligible for funding can include business skills; environmental and sustainability; health and safety; vehicles, machinery and equipment; financial, technical or those covering machinery and equipment training. For guidance on eligibility, what can be applied for, or any part of the funding application process, visit scotland@lantra.co.uk.