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Commission report warns of skilled labour shortage for land-based aquaculture sector

January 18, 2023  By  Nestor Arellano

A Scottish government commission report warns that the country’s land-based aquaculture sector is “struggling to recruit.”

The Commission for the Land-Based Learning Review was recently delivered to Scottish minister to help them develop learning system that ensure sufficient skills and knowledge development for workers in the land-based sector.

“Given their importance in terms of food and materials production, addressing the nature and climate crises and supporting rural communities and the economy, it is imperative that we find solutions which attract more entrants, widen the pool of applicants, and increase training opportunities,” the report said. “Yet across the sector, businesses are experiencing workforce shortages and struggling to recruit.”

The report defined land-based sector as a range of industries covering land and marine environment use “to produce food and renewable resources.” The sector also encompasses supporting roles such as engineering, equine, and environmental conservation.

The report noted that many employers in the land-based sector are micro, small, or medium sized business.

The available labour market intelligence across the sector often lacks sufficient detail which makes labour demands “difficult to determine,” according to the report. “The nature of the businesses involved means they have little time to grapple with the intricacies of funding rules and requirements, whilst the supporting education, training and career options (‘pathways’), can be a confusing mixture of acronyms, course details and choices.

Among the key recommendations of the commission was that the government needed to “ensure learning from interventions such as the Women in Agriculture Taskforce and Women in Scottish Aquaculture is used to inform actions to attract more women into sectors where there is a gender imbalance.”

Other top recommendations of the commission were:

  • Work towards the reframing of the land-based sectors as nature-based
  • Develop an effective communications strategy to support the
    reframing of the sector
  • Establish clear progressive experiences for nature-based learning
    and climate literacy across all levels of Curriculum for Excellence
  • Identify ways to support an increase in sector school/college
    partnership learning pathways, offered and undertaken by schools
  • Provide on-going Career Long Professional Learning (CLPL) support
    for school-based staff and volunteers across all education authorities,
    supported by education providers to improve their knowledge and
    understanding of the opportunities within the sector. Include practical
    training in supporting learning in the natural environment

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