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Aquaculture's award winners in 2019: from left, Harry Hamlin-Wright (Dawnfresh), Andrew Richardson (UHI), triple winner Janis Brivkalns (SSC) and Billy Welsh (SSF). Photo: Gareth Moore / FFE.
Aquaculture's award winners in 2019: from left, Harry Hamlin-Wright (Dawnfresh), Andrew Richardson (UHI), triple winner Janis Brivkalns (SSC) and Billy Welsh (SSF). Photo: Gareth Moore / FFE.

Scotland’s fish farmers are being urged to enter their promising trainees for this year’s Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills (ALBAS), run by rural skills organisation Lantra.

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The deadline for entries is Friday, November 15.

An independent panel of judges will shortlist the finalists, with winners announced at a prestigious ceremony at the DoubleTree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro on Thursday, March 5, hosted by farmer and stand-up comedian, Jim Smith.

Liz Barron-Majerik:
Liz Barron-Majerik: "The awards highlight the support and achievements of everyone involved." Photo: Lantra.

Credit for employers

Lantra director Liz Barron-Majerik said: “Although the ALBAS are rightly focused on learners and trainees, they also provide the perfect way for their training providers and employers to get the credit they deserve. By recognising and celebrating the success and hard work of our new entrants, the awards highlight the support and achievements of everyone involved.

“With the closing date for nominations now fast approaching, we’d like to remind trainers, teachers and employers across the country to put forward their top learners and help us to recognise and promote the industry’s best talent.”

Six trophies

Four aquaculture nominees scooped a total of six trophies at the 2019 ALBAS ceremony.

Scottish Salmon Company trainee Janis Brivkalns, who had completed a Modern Apprenticeship Level 2 in Aquaculture through Inverness College UHI while working as a marine operative at the SSC site at Loch Striven, was the star of the show.

He was first named Aquaculture Learner of the Year, then Modern Apprentice of the Year. He was then given an Overall Winner award after judges decided to award two, to Brivkalns and agriculture student Amy Park.

Commitment to training

Billy Welsh, 24, from Stromness in Orkney, was named Aquaculture Learner of the Year runner-up.

Dawnfresh Farming’s company vet Harry Hamlin-Wright, from Perth, was given a CARAS (Council for Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies) award for his commitment to training and development both of himself and staff at the trout farmer.

Andrew Richardson, originally from Skye, was named Higher Education Learner of the Year after completing an Erasmus Mundus joint Masters degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society through the Scottish Association for Marine Science UHI.

He now has a job with French company InnovaFeed, which grows insects to produce protein for fish and land animal feed.

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