Trainees Craig Grounds, Stuart Lavender and Hamish MacLean from the aquaculture industry have been short-listed for Lantra Scotland’s awards for land-based and aquaculture skills (the ALBAS), which will take place at the Crieff hydro on 7 March.
Grounds, who's based in Oban, has completed his modern apprenticeship level 3 in aquaculture at UHI Shetland while working as an assistant site manager at Scottish Seafarms.
As he explained in a press release: “Coming from the northeast of England, I had never seen or heard of salmon farming. When I relocated here and spoke to people about it, I knew it would be the job for me. Being out in nature, weather and the physicality of the work really appeals to me. I have loved every minute so far.”
Lavender, from Mossbank in Shetland, has completed his MA level 2 in aquaculture at UHI Shetland while working as a site assistant at Cooke Aquaculture.
On making the shortlist, he stated: “Getting into aquaculture has opened my eyes to how many different sectors and opportunities there are. Doing my SVQ level 2 and 3 has given me the knowledge and understanding, improving, and pushing forward my career in aquaculture.”
MacLean, from Tobermory on the Isle of Mull, has completed his SCQF level 9 in aquaculture management at UHI Shetland while working as an area manager for Bakkafrost.
He said: “I enjoyed working on boats and on water in previous jobs. The Scottish Salmon Company [now Bakkafrost Scotland] had just installed a new farm right in front of my house. I met with the manager and the rest is history!”
The ALBAS play a role in promoting careers within the rural sector, aiming to celebrate the achievements of learners and highlighting the importance to employers of investing in skills.
Industry categories at this year’s ALBAS cover agriculture, animal care, aquaculture, equine, game and wildlife, horticulture, land-based engineering and trees and timber.
As well as prizes for overall winner, runner-up and modern apprentice of the year, there are also several other awards that will be given out.
Dr Liz Barron-Majerik MBE, director of Lantra Scotland, commented: “Our ALBAS have an important role to play in highlighting the achievements of new entrants and career changers in our sector, and in showing people the benefits of skills development and partnership working.
“I would like to say a heartfelt congratulations to every one of this year’s finalists and wish them good luck at the ALBAS ceremony in March, but I’d also like to say a big ‘well done’ to all of our nominees.”