And organisers are hoping that students will take advantage of the increasingly high-profile event to make their mark with prospective employers. They have been urged to take their CVs and contact details.
Keynote speaker Ben Hadfield, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland, will open the April 16 event with a 30-minute presentation. The other speakers, who include AKVA group Scotland boss Jason Cleaversmith and Philip Lyons, a research scientist at Alltech-owned feed producer Coppens International, will give 15-minute talks.
PhD student Carolina Fernandez, one of the organisers, said this year’s event would have more stands where students could talk to industry representatives one-to-one.
Build up relationships
Fernandez said: “This is a chance for students to get to know what they [aquaculture companies] are offering and what they want.
“It’s a way for them to be pushed to know people in these fields, in order to get a better chance to get a job.
“We try to contact every important company involved in aquaculture and I think we got a really good group of people involved.
“We’ll have breaks as well, in the middle, so people can go and talk to them, to ask what kind of jobs they are offering, just to build up relationships basically – that’s one of the main goals of this event.
“Sometimes students don’t network because maybe they are too shy, but I think it would be a good opportunity for students to get involved in this. We want the students to go and ask questions and be curious.”
The morning session of the all-day event will feature the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation’s data and research officer Iain Berrill, Cleaversmith, and Lyons.
The first of two afternoon sessions begins with talks from Institute of Aquaculture alumni. The first speaker is Janina Zuleica Costa, a post-doc research scientist at the Aquaculture Research Group (ARG) within the Moredun Research Institute at Pentlands Science Park, Penicuik.
She is followed by Julio Lopez Alvarado, key accounts manager with drug manufacturer Elanco, who earned an MSc in Aquaculture at Stirling in 1990.
Chris Mitchell, national sales manager from drug manufacturer, Pharmaq/Zoetis, Ralph Bickerdike, fish health chief for Scottish Sea Farms, and careers expert Kate Pritchard will then give talks.
The second session comprises talks from Michelle Elliott from the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, James Deverill from feed producer EWOS Cargill, and Tom Ashton, managing director of St Andrews-based genetics firm Xelect.
More stands, more people
Fernandez said: “We have more stands this year, I think we have more than 10, more companies. That will be even better because it’s more physical: you go to a stand, you have the flyers, you see what they are offering and you see what they want.
“I think we’ll have a very good event this year. More people are attending as well, so it’s good that people are hearing about it. There are more students this year and we managed to get more people involved from different parts of the industry.
“There is a good mix of people from different companies, on the stands and doing talks.
“We encourage people to take their CVs along, because it makes it easier for the company to get a hold of that person. If you talk to the person but don’t keep up communication, for example if you don’t have a CV or whatever, you lose that relationship that you build during the session, so we encourage the students to take any information they have of themselves – CV or email or whatever – to make it easier for them to maybe get a job in the future.
“I know most of the people who networked last year and the year before have a job with the people they networked with, so that’s why we’re pushing students to come along and really do networking, because it’s a really good opportunity to get a job.
“For companies it’s really good because they know they will find future workers and they will see how research is working as well, so there is good feedback both ways.”
Fernandez said organisers were grateful to sponsorship from the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, Coppens – which is paying for the lunch - and the Institute of Aquaculture.
The other organisers of the event are Aquaculture Students’ Association president Athina Papadopoulou, vice-president Joana Moura and secretary Elizabeth Buba.
Free tickets for the event are available here.