Scottish investments totalling £50,000 (€57,884.11) will go towards promoting the increased participation of women in the aquaculture sector.
The Scottish government will provide £20,000 of the funding, with the remaining £30,000 to be drawn from industry sponsorship. The investments will go towards supporting Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA), a collaborative working group launched by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre earlier this year, which aims to bring more women into the sector and support female employees already working in the industry.
Heather Jones, CEO of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), said: “I am passionate about supporting and promoting the role of women in Scottish aquaculture. I believe it is a vital step in helping the industry to grow. It’s been fantastic to secure financial support for this initiative from both the Scottish government and the aquaculture industry in Scotland. The resources announced today will allow us to build capacity, confidence and capability amongst women working in Scottish aquaculture.”
The funding will go towards establishing a mentoring scheme, enabling women already employed within the sector to develop their careers further; as well as setting up a website aimed at promoting job opportunities in aquaculture to women, with the goal of increasing representation in the industry: in 2018 just 11% of Scotland’s salmon farm workers and 15% of its shellfish farm employees were female.
Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “It cannot be right that there are so few women working in Scottish aquaculture. In any professional industry it is important to nurture a workforce that is diverse, and that means having a healthy gender balance. [WiSA] was developed in close collaboration with industry because there is a growing desire by all to break down the barriers stopping women from moving into this thriving sector. The funding I am announcing today will help to kickstart this work. I hope it will lead to many more women considering a career in aquaculture.”