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Shannon Graham is one of three graduate trainees given permanent roles by Mowi after an 18-month training period. Graham is now trainee assistant manager at Lochailort Hatchery. Photos: Mowi.
Shannon Graham is one of three graduate trainees given permanent roles by Mowi after an 18-month training period. Graham is now trainee assistant manager at Lochailort Hatchery. Photos: Mowi.

Mowi Scotland has hired all three graduates who joined the company 18 months ago on its graduate programme.

Connie Fairbairn, Shannon Graham and Hilary Turnbull have spent the last year and a half learning the farming business.

They have been hands on at hatchery, freshwater and seawater sites, and supported through a structured programme with personal development plans combining practical tasks with academic study and management experience, the company said in a press release.

Connie Fairbairn: Excellent support.
Connie Fairbairn: Excellent support.

Support on site

Having now completed the training programme, they have secured permanent positions. Fairbairn and Graham will take up trainee assistant manager positions in seawater and freshwater respectively, while Turnbull becomes a health manager in the Western Isles.

Donald Waring, Mowi Scotland’s learning and development manager, said: “I’m delighted to see Shannon, Connie and Hilary begin their career path here at Mowi. A big thank you to all the site managers who helped them learn their trade.”

Fairbairn said: “One of the many highlights of the graduate programme is the ability to experience all aspects of the business. Despite Covid, the support from managers and staff during this time has been excellent and much appreciated. I hope to continue progressing towards a farm manager position and learn from all members of staff at Mowi.”

Industry initiatives

For Graham, the encouragement to participate in industry-wide initiatives increased her understanding of aquaculture.

“We were encouraged throughout to expand our network and often given the chance to be involved with projects working alongside other industry professionals like SAIC (Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre), SSPO (Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation) and Marine Scotland,” she said.

“Since joining Mowi in July 2019, I have spent time in both seawater and freshwater – where I am now in a permanent position as assistant manager at Lochailort Hatchery. The graduate programme provided me with the opportunity to gain experience across all aspects of the aquaculture industry from daily husbandry routines to production planning, smolt transfer, harvesting, health assessing, budgeting and forecasting.”

Hilary Turnbull:
Hilary Turnbull: "Sheer kindness" at every site.

Made to feel valuable

The fact that the training carried on despite the challenges presented by lockdown meant that the graduates felt supported and continued to progress, said Turnbull.

“Despite the Covid pandemic, our training on site continued and, as things eased, we were able to go back to moving locations every three months,” she said.

“A highlight for me has been the sheer kindness and support I have received from every farm or site I have worked at. Each site took me in, showed me the ropes and made me feel valuable, even when I was relatively new and still learning.”