Budding aquaculture leaders invited to join career coaching programme

Sarah Riddle (SAIC)

THE SUSTAINABLE Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) is calling upon emerging leaders from across the sector to take part in its Leadership Development Programme – the only scheme of its kind designed specifically for people working in aquaculture. 

Delivered in partnership with Skillfluence, the initiative aims to equip participants with the tools, skills and confidence to lead under pressure and build successful teams, as well as providing one-to-one coaching and mentoring throughout. Workshops will focus on motivating team members, public speaking, managing conflict successfully, and more.

The programme has been designed to support a growing and diverse workforce, as well as addressing the need to boost managerial skills to prepare the next generation of leaders to step into senior positions. All areas of the sector, from finfish and shellfish to seaweed and the supply chain, will be included. Past participants have included aquaculture farm managers, logistics planners, environmental analysts, innovation officers and fish health specialists.

Nicola Forrester, assistant supply chain manager at Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, said: “I now have more awareness of my leadership behaviours and how they influence others around me. The course helped me to step out of my comfort zone and learn to be a more effective leader, with tools to help motivate and empower our teams. Working in the aquaculture supply chain can be complex and fast-paced, so it is crucial to lead by example and create cultures and environments that boost morale.”

Following the success of last year’s programme – the first after Covid – the agenda has been adapted to incorporate face-to-face sessions which participants found especially valuable. Importantly, these have been scheduled in accordance with the seasonal peaks and troughs of seafood production cycles, meaning minimal disruption during otherwise busy times.

Sarah Riddle, director of engagement and innovation at SAIC, said: “Given aquaculture’s roots in remote and rural locations, managerial roles can often mean working in isolation and managing disparate teams. This is no mean feat for any manager, but the diverse nature of the sector also means dealing with a range of specialisms and challenges on any given day – from office based tasks to supply chain management and on-farm support.     

“People are the core of any business and by supporting future leaders we can help to build the workforce we need to nurture a successful, sustainable Scottish aquaculture sector.

“We want to support the young leaders in this programme specially designed to help people build confidence, and improve communication and other soft skills. It also offers participants the chance to get together with others at a similar career juncture and build professional networks of like-minded people.”

Up to 25 spaces are available for the Leadership Development Programme, and the two-day kick-off session takes place on 25th and 26th of April at the Dunblane Hydro Hotel. Applications close on 7thApril.

For more information, visit: www.sustainableaquaculture.com/skills-training/leadership-development-programme

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