Cooke freshwater operative Callum Duggan at the Holmwrangle Hatchery in Cumbria. He says the courses he has been given opportunity to do by Cooke have prepared him for his new role in Atlantic Canada.

Canada calls for award-winnning salmon farmer

Cooke Scotland freshwater operative promoted to team leader at New Brunswick hatchery

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A former winner of the Aquaculture Learner of the Year award will be swapping Cumbria for Canada in January after his talent and potential were identified by employer Cooke Aquaculture Scotland.

Callum Duggan, 28, who has worked for the Canadian-owned salmon farmer for seven years, has accepted a position as lead hand at Cooke subsidiary Kelly Cove Salmon’s Johnston Lake Hatchery in Pennfield, New Brunswick, where he will lead a small team.

Duggan is currently working as a freshwater operative at Cooke Scotland’s Holmwrangle Hatchery near Armathwaite in the Eden Valley, Cumbria.

Cooke Aquaculture told Fish Farming Expert that it has an internal process to identify top talent in each of the countries it operates in. In early 2023, Cooke Canada reviewed its long-term plan for freshwater operations and Duggan was identified as having the potential to progress in a freshwater leadership role within Cooke’s global operations.

Skills and knowledge

Duggan was named Aquaculture Learner of the Year by rural skills organisation Lantra Scotland in 2021 and was joint winner of the CARAS (Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies) for dedication to learning.

In addition to a BSc (Hons) in Marine Biology, Duggan holds a Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture and a Level 4 Technical Apprenticeship in Aquaculture Management. He has also completed further qualifications with Cooke including an ILM Level 3 and ILM Level 5, both in leadership and management.

“Cooke has equipped me with the skills and knowledge to put into practice in the work environment, and I’m looking forward to using what I have learned in my new role,” said Duggan, who will have a team of between five and seven personnel.

Embraced opportunity

“Cooke gave me the chance to complete a Modern Apprenticeship and a Technical Apprenticeship in Aquaculture Management. I believe courses like this are a fantastic opportunity to develop and motivate staff, to show employees Cooke is willing to invest in them and nurture their passion and enthusiasm. These courses have been instrumental in preparing me for the role. I’ve always embraced the opportunity to learn and develop, and I have enjoyed every step.

“I have had the opportunity to lead teams throughout my time with Cooke, however this will be my first leadership position with the company. I’m looking forward to the challenges and opportunities it will bring, both personally and professionally.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity, and I hope to stay in Canada for the foreseeable.”

Cooke Scotland managing director Colin Blair said: “At Cooke our success is driven by our dedicated employees. We acknowledge this dedication by continually investing in our people through continuous training and development, either via in-house on-the-job training, apprenticeships, external training opportunities or allowing time to complete professional qualifications.

“We promote the development of all of our employees and we wish Callum all the very best in his new role in Canada.”