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Mentors step forward to help women up the fish ladder

The first meeting of the WiSA mentoring programme was held at SAMS , Oban earlier this month. Photo: WiSA.
The first meeting of the WiSA mentoring programme was held at SAMS , Oban earlier this month. Photo: WiSA.

A mentoring programme for women who want to build careers in Scottish fish farming has got off to a promising start after 15 people in the industry volunteered to be mentors.

But more mentors are still needed if all the women who have joined the one-to-one programme are to be accommodated.

The mentoring programme from Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) with help from the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) is the first in a series of Scottish Government-supported diversity initiatives and is being delivered in partnership with training provider Skillfluence.

Mary Fraser: Hopeful the programme can be extended and more mentors found.
Mary Fraser: Hopeful the programme can be extended and more mentors found.

Delighted with response

“WiSA and SAIC are delighted with the response to the mentoring programme. Thanks to the Scottish Government the programme will run until the end of March, but we are hopeful we can extend this for another 3-6 months,” said Mary Fraser, SAIC’s head of skills.

“We have a waiting list of mentees and would welcome enquiries from anyone in the industry who would like to become a mentor. Time commitment is only a few hours a month alongside training and support from Skillfluence.”

The programme’s mentors are from salmon farmers Scottish Sea Farms (SSF), the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC), Mowi and Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, as well as fish health analyst PatoGen, cleaner fish producer Otter Ferry Seafish, in-feed sea lice treatment developer NeemCo, ova provider Aquagen, Crown Estate, SAIC, SAMS UHI and the University of the West of Scotland.

Training sessions

Mentees are from Mowi, Scottish Sea Farms, the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, Marks & Spencer, SAMS UHI, Strathclyde University, Aberdeen University, Scottish Salmon Company and BioMar.

The mentoring programme had its first meeting at SAMS (Scottish Association for Marine Science) in Oban two weeks ago.

Attended by 20 participants from Mowi, SSMG, SSF, University of Strathclyde, Otter Ferry Seafish, SSC, SAMS-UHI, Patogen, NeemCo Ltd and University of West of Scotland, the day consisted of training sessions for both mentors and mentees.

The training was conducted by Laurie Macpherson (from The Grow Consultancy and Skillfluence). Some participants in the first cohort couldn’t make it to Oban, but WiSA planned to organise a catching-up session for them.