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Year's Top Aquaculture Learner Awarded in Scotland

UK - A salmon farmer from Lochgilphead has been crowned Aquaculture Learner of the Year at an awards ceremony attended by Richard Lochhead MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment.

27 year old Iain Clerk who works for Lakeland Smolt in Argyll, received the award for his enthusiasm and desire to learn everything about the job. He is currently studying an SVQ Level 2 in Aquaculture with Inverness College.

“I would recommend all parts of the course to others, as it has widened my understanding of the processes we use. I particularly enjoy the work and being part of a team with over 50 years experience. It’s the job I enjoy getting up for. Day to day the job changes, but one day with more training I hope to be in charge of my own farm. I am delighted to be the winner of the Lantra Aquaculture Learner of the Year Award.” said Clerk.

Organised by Lantra, the Aquaculture Learner of the Year award is supported by Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO), and promotes entry routes and progression opportunities that exist for all ages in the aquaculture sector. The award is part of the Land-based Learner of the Year Awards attended by some 150 guests including new entrants, key stakeholders, employers, training providers and members of Scottish Parliament.

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said: “Skills are high on the Scottish Government agenda. We recognise the clear link between a highly skilled, well-motivated workforce and a strong economy.

“We cannot ignore the economic downturn, but the upturn will come and we will need to be able to call on a ready supply of skilled people. That means nurturing talent and doing all we can to encourage our workforce to improve and develop their skills throughout their employment.”

Scott Landsburgh, Chief Executive of Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO), said: “I would like to congratulate Iain for his appetite towards learning and development. As aquaculture is one of the foremost food producing sectors in rural Scotland and a skilled workforce is an essential ingredient, it is important that significant investment is made in education and that we continue to promote career and training opportunities.”

William Fergusson, Lantra’s National Director for Scotland, said: “It is vital for the future of aquaculture that we continue to attract high calibre candidates. To do this, we must raise awareness of the many challenging and diverse career and training opportunities. There are highly skilled jobs with real career progression on offer to new entrants of all ages.”

Iain Clerk was amongst 24 top learners to receive an award at the sixth annual Land-based Learner of the Year Awards. Winners were aged 14-46 and came from all over Scotland. The Aquaculture Learner of the Year category was introduced for the first time last year.

the Fish Site Editor

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