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New Progression Award In Aquaculture

by the Fish Site Editor
22 September 2010, at 1:00am

UK - A brand new course, the National Progression Award (NPA) in Aquaculture, got underway at the NAFC Marine Centre this month with nine Secondary 3 and 4 students, who have expressed an interest in a career in aquaculture, signing up to find out more about the industry.

The students are from Brae, Aith, Whalsay and Scalloway schools and will be tutored by aquaculture vocational training manager Kenny Gifford and aquaculture instructor Mark Gibson one day per fortnight for one year. The NPA also includes work experience to give students the opportunity to put what they have learned in the classroom into practice.

Both Kenny and Mark have been involved in an appraisal and updating of teaching modules to ensure that the qualification is in keeping with the growth of, and change in, the industry. The subjects include: an introduction to North European Aquaculture; a local investigation into the aquatic environment; an introduction to finfish production; basic seamanship; and Scottish sea fisheries.

Explaining what has changed in moving from the Scottish Progression Award to the new NPA, Mark Gibson said: “The learning outcomes and structure has changed to meet the needs of students and industry. We hope that our students will gain a greater awareness of aquaculture as a whole and we’ve introduced more practical activities too. The seamanship and Scottish sea fisheries units are also new, which provides pupils with more options when it comes to choosing a career at sea.”

Kenny Gifford added: “The new course will provide students with a real taste of what’s involved in a career in aquaculture. It’s a broad course which emphasises the economic importance of this industry sector and provides the school pupils with practical experience so that they can make informed choices on taking the next step into making their interest a real career.

“The students are all very keen and interested in working on or by the sea. Some want to work with salmon or become a fisherman, but for many at this point it’s just about finding out what a career at sea would involve. It should be an enjoyable experience for everyone and will certainly open up the door to understanding the potential for employment in the maritime sector.”

The purchase of personal protective equipment required for the students to undertake the practical aspects of the training is sponsored by the Shetland Fisheries Training Association. Training co-ordinator Caroline Hepburn said: “Our Association is pleased to be able to help by providing the boots, oilskins and gloves specifically for this course and we hope it will also be available to future pupils to use during their training”.

the Fish Site Editor