Organised by Scottish Sea Farms in conjunction with Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Scotland, the event on Wednesday, September 13, has attracted support from across the sector.

Some 24 organisations, including salmon farmers, suppliers and academic institutions, are taking stalls at the fair, which will be open from 9.30am to 3.15pm.

Pupils from local schools will attend, with Primary 6 and 7s joining S1 and S2 students during the fact-finding day.

The programme was put together following a successful aquaculture careers day in Lochgilphead last year, said Scottish Sea Farms Learning and Development Co-ordinator Irene Pozo.

‘At previous events, we have engaged mainly with school leavers, many of whom already have a strong idea of what they want to do career-wise.

‘We thought it would be a good idea to put on an event for younger pupils, letting them know about aquaculture as a potential career path from an earlier age and before they begin making decisions about their future.

‘Although we are a big employer locally, many people still aren’t aware of the wide range of roles and careers available, not just in the salmon farming companies but in the wider supply chain too.

‘We want to fuel their interest and inspire them to consider a career in the sector.’

Among the businesses attending the careers fair are fellow farmers Mowi, Bakkafrost Scotland, Cooke, Kames and Otter Ferry, plus suppliers Gael Force, Inverlussa Marine Services, Hendrix Genetics, and fish health experts PatoGen and Pharmaq.

The Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), based in Dunstaffnage, will also be there, along with representatives from the burgeoning local seaweed sector.

‘We have asked the companies exhibiting to bring interactive materials where possible so the children can engage better with their businesses,’ said Pozo.

‘For example, Scottish Sea Farms will have fish samples from the hatchery showing three different stages of growth. We’ll also have a crane simulator, an engine and tools, and an environmental modelling system.

‘With staff from different departments on hand to explain their line of work, our aim is to demonstrate the variety of roles needed – many of which don’t require a degree in biology or any prior knowledge or experience, as we provide all required training.’

Peta-Jane Miller, DYW Co-ordinator for Oban, Tiree and Tobermory, said Oban High School had been very supportive and wanted young people to be aware of all that was available in the area.

‘This event will give pupils an insight into the varied careers in aquaculture in Argyll and Bute. Marrying up these career opportunities with our in-school activities is key to ensuring our community has the skilled workforce it needs to thrive in the future.

‘We are confident our young people will get a lot from the day and are hugely grateful to Oban High School for hosting.’

Also attending the Oban careers fair will be AKVA, STIM, BioMar, the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI), Seafood Scotland, Dawnfresh, Organic Sea Harvest, and Salmon Scotland.

Photo courtesy of Robert Leadbeater