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Golden Bay Aquaculture Scholarship Winner Announced

NEW ZEALAND - The inaugural Marine Farming Association Aquaculture Scholarship has been awarded to 17 year old Vaun Shearer of Pupu Valley, Golden Bay.

The scholarship is targeted specifically at Golden Bay and it pays half the course fees for the Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology Diploma in Aquaculture (Fish Farming and Management). It’s one of the most generous scholarships available just for Golden Bay.

Mr Shearer graduated from Golden Bay High School last year and was considering a career in Marine Biology when he found out about NMIT’s new Diploma and the scholarship.

“I applied and was blown away when I found out I’d won it. It’s awesome. My friends were really surprised because no-one really knew about the Diploma or scholarship but now it’s become a real career option for the Bay.”

The NMIT Diploma in Aquaculture (Fish Farming and Fishery Management) is the first of its level (NZQA level 5)l in New Zealand. The content for the two year programme has been developed in consultation with industry, such as New Zealand King Salmon, Sealord, Aquaculture New Zealand, Aotearoa Seafoods and Marine Farming Association.

Subjects include aquatic animal anatomy and physiology; aquatic ecology; fishery management; aquaculture; fish and shellfish health and nutrition; Māori aquaculture interests; business and environmental management.

Mr Shearer has recently started the course and says it even better than he expected.

“It’s really good so far. It’s covering everything to do with aquaculture and there are also a lot more practical skills that I was expecting.”

Mr Shearer is keen to encourage school leavers in Golden Bay to apply for the next scholarship.

“Just go for it, it’s really, really good – don’t hesitate. It’s a great industry. And once you’ve done this diploma, there are all sorts of opportunities opening up in Golden Bay for aquaculture. I’m not sure exactly what I’ll end up doing. I plan to experience all the aspects the diploma has to offer and then make up my mind at the end, but I’ll definitely be returning to the bay.”

The Head of Aquaculture Programme at NMIT, Dr Mark Burdass says the scholarship is a practical way of encouraging people from Golden Bay to consider the options for a career that’s on their back door step.

“The industry in a growth phase across the top of the south and this Diploma is a pathway into a career that allows those young people in golden bay to return there. Local people in the local jobs is a key aspect of where this diploma sees it’s role in training for the industry and we’re pleased to have enthusiastic people such as Vaun start on his career with us.”

Mr Shearer has always been interested in the sea, thanks to living in Golden Bay.

“I’m a hands on person and I wanted a hands on career”, he said. “The Diploma’s going to set me up to use both my head and my hands, it’s great”.

Marine Farming Association CEO Graeme Coates says he’s pleased Vaun has taken up the opportunity.

“We see Golden Bay as a growth area for marine farming, and want to invest in the youth of the region”, says Mr Coates. “Vaun has a bright future ahead of him and the Marine Farming Association is proud to have this connection with NMIT”

High school students who would like to apply can do so from now, by contacting NMIT directly or through your school.

The scholarship will cover half of the student’s tuition fees, and is offered only to students who come from the Golden Bay area. Interested students must submit an application that includesg a 400 word essay that demonstrating their reasons for wanting to work in the industry.

the Fish Site Editor

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