The concept for the new course, entitled ‘Managing and Leading the Team’, was first developed at an industry workshop initiated by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC)
Heather Jones, CEO at SAIC, explained: “Ensuring that industry has ready access to the skills and knowledge it needs to grow is a key part of our work. By bringing together Scotland’s leading producers, we were able to identify the specific training requirements of first-time managers and how best to meet these needs.”
Following a competitive tender process involving registered training providers with experience of the Scottish Food & Drink sector, Fife College was chosen to deliver the course, working closely alongside SAIC and Scottish Sea Farms to help shape its content.
Tracy Bryant-Shaw, HR Manager at Scottish Sea Farms, said: “Highly trained, motivated and skilled staff is integral not just to our continued success but that of the whole industry, so we were keen to be involved at an early stage to help create a course of relevance and benefit to all producers.”
Testament to the company’s support for the new skills initiative, Scottish Sea Farms was the first to enrol employees on the two-day course, which takes groups of up to 12 people at a time through six key themes: from being an authentic leader and communicating effectively, to coaching and managing performance.
Amongst the initial participants was Sarah Last, Site Manager at Scottish Sea Farms’ Summer Isles location: “This course guides you step by step through the different elements of being an effective manager. It has given me techniques and approaches that I can instantly put into practice at Summer Isles to help me deal with day-to-day farm operations.”
Once employees have completed the course, they will be given a period to apply their new skills and knowledge in their own workplace, before being invited back for a follow-up session to address any arising issues or questions.
Cori Critchlow-Watton, Aquaculture Innovation Manager and skills ambassador at SAIC, said: “This is an industry-led, sector-specific course designed with the everyday needs and challenges of first-time managers in mind. Shaped by Scotland’s finfish producers, it could easily be adapted for the country’s shellfish producers, and we would urge as many companies as possible to get involved.”
Scottish Sea Farms is now in talks to enrol more employees on the course in early 2017, as is Cooke Aquaculture.