Klaudia Klodzinska-Swider, of Loch Duart. WiSA is encouraging more women to work in aquaculture. Photo: Euan Myles / Loch Duart.

Mentoring scheme launched for women in aquaculture

Women aspiring to build careers in Scotland’s aquaculture will be mentored by industry leaders under a new scheme starting in January.

Published Last updated

The mentoring programme from Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) is first in a series of Scottish Government-supported diversity initiatives.

The scheme – to be delivered in partnership with training provider Skillfluence – will match some of the most influential leaders in aquaculture with aspiring women in the sector looking to develop their careers and skills.

Leadership styles

Through one-to-one sessions, the mentoring programme will provide training and support for both mentees and mentors. Participants in the programme will meet over several months to develop skills such as creating a network, making career decisions, cultivating leadership styles, and building confidence.

For its first cohort, WiSA is now looking for senior aquaculture professionals to act as mentors, as well as women looking to enhance their aquaculture careers to take on the role of mentee.

Charlotte Maddocks: "We are looking for female mentees, as well as female and male mentors".

Charlotte Maddocks, co-chair of WiSA and Mowi Scotland’s regional fish health manager for the Western Isles, said: “WiSA mentoring is about matching the experience of one person with the potential of another.

“We are looking for female mentees, as well as female and male mentors, from across the industry who want to make a difference by taking part in the programme, helping us encourage and nurture aquaculture’s next generation of female leaders.

“Being a mentor can be an incredibly rewarding experience, contributing to professional development and helping to shape the industry’s future.”

Industry sponsorship

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government announced a £20,000 commitment to WiSA. Combined with an additional £30,000 of industry sponsorship, the funding is being used to encourage more women to enter the sector, provide a supportive network across industry and academia, and support partners to harness the potential of women in aquaculture.

WiSA was launched after a consultation of 200 people in the aquaculture industry by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) in which 90% of respondents supported the idea of a support network for women in the industry.

Heather Jones: "First of many initiatives".

‘Confidence and capability’

SAIC chief executive Heather Jones said: “Supporting women in playing a more prominent role in aquaculture is a vital step in helping the industry to grow.

“The mentoring programme is the first of many initiatives that will help us to build capacity, confidence and capability amongst women working in Scottish aquaculture.”

WiSA membership is open to anyone, of any gender, studying or working in Scottish aquaculture.

Many of Scotland’s major producers – including Grieg Seafood, Cooke Aquaculture, the Scottish Salmon Company, Mowi, Loch Duart and Scottish Sea Farms – have pledged support for WiSA.

Anyone interested in becoming a WiSA mentor or mentee can apply here by January 10, 2020.