e initiative has been developed by Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA), backed by the Scottish Government’s Women Returners Fund. It will support up to 50 women with career coaching, confidence training and mentoring – empowering them to step back into employment. The programme aims to raise awareness of the varied career opportunities within aquaculture, while allowing participants to develop relationships and make contacts through WiSA’s network of members from the sector and academia.
The month-long series of free workshops and events will kick off with an introduction to aquaculture, led by WiSA and The Scottish Salmon Company, developed specifically for participants who may not have worked in the sector before.
Later sessions will include careers and performance coaching, interview skills, CV writing and confidence building. And the programme will also include one-to-one mentoring sessions between the initiative’s aspiring participants and experienced aquaculture professionals.
Evidence from the Scottish Government suggests that women still face barriers when returning to work after an extended absence, with many experiencing a “motherhood penalty”, following maternity leave. The Women Returners Fund was established to help to address some of these issues, with a focus on rebuilding skills, knowledge and confidence. Teresa Garzon, WiSA co-chair, said: “The aquaculture industry is thriving and there is a wide range of exciting opportunities available to women in rural parts of Scotland – whether they have worked in the sector before, or if it is brand new to them. Our returners programme aims to give women the skills and confidence to get back into employment and address any of the challenges they might face on their return. “Aquaculture is a forward-thinking, innovative industry and access to a diverse talent pool will be a crucial element of helping the sector to continue to grow. Through the WiSA network, we hope to create a positive community that supports professional development and provides women with the tools and skills needed to help build successful and rewarding careers.”