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Charlotte Maddocks, a former IoA student who is now Aquaculture Manager at Tesco, was one of the key speakers. Image by Denny Conway.
Charlotte Maddocks, a former IoA student who is now Aquaculture Manager at Tesco, was one of the key speakers. Image by Denny Conway.

An alumnus of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) was one of the star attractions at the Aquaculture Students Association's (ASA) second annual careers fair.  

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Charlotte Maddocks, who is now Aquaculture manager at Tesco, was on hand to give undergraduates and postgraduates alike the opportunity to learn about the opportunities in the retail sector, while there were representatives of many other key companies at the event.

The event was organised by students for students but other presentations were made by Pharmaq’s MD, Ben North, the SSPO’s Iain Berrill, Ewos and Marine Scotland.

There was also the opportunity for students to meet representatives of companies – such as Akva, Alltech, Dawnfresh and Europharma – between sessions and around lunch, forging potentially useful connections for the future. Indeed, as Sam Houston, a PhD student who organised the event, told Fish Farming Expert: “Several students made their first contact with their future employers at last year’s event.”

The gathering was supported by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), whose CEO, Heather Jones, said: “We’re delighted to support the event again this year. A lot of our own work is focused on looking beyond the here and now towards future opportunities, so to see the IoA students doing exactly that is hugely encouraging for the future of the industry.”

Building on the success of last year’s event, there were even more companies in attendance and a new session featuring video presentations from international companies such as Nam Sai Farms, Fish Vet Group, Aqua-Spark and the Global Aquaculture Alliance.

Sam explained: "we have a lot of international students at the institute and many of them will be looking for employment outside the UK when they leave, so it was great that the video presentations could show what was on offer in countries such as Thailand, the Netherlands and the US."

Sam added: “The Aquaculture Careers event is a truly invaluable opportunity for students to find out first-hand about the sheer range of opportunities available across a range of disciplines within aquaculture. I’d go as far as to say it’s the only aquaculture-specific careers event of its kind right now.

"The key thing about it is that it's industry-specific and the take-home message from many of the talks was probably encouraging students to broaden their horizons - the aquaculture industry has such a huge range of jobs - in finance, engineering and logistics - as well as the more obvious research, husbandry and veterinary roles."

Amongst those attending the event were the MSc students whose places are funded through the SAIC Scholars Connect Plus programme, causing Heather to reflect: “Just as SAIC Scholars Connect Plus is expanding for the academic year 2016/17 to include two further Universities – Herriot-Watt and University of Aberdeen – there’s nothing to stop this event being opened up in future years to aquaculture students across Scotland.”

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