When you picture a job in the seafood industry, do you see what we do? Bright, beautiful seas full of some of the tastiest fish and shellfish that grace plates around the world. A thriving part of the Scottish and UK’s food production (bringing £1.6 billion into the Scottish economy). And most of all, the chance to begin or continue a successful, fulfilling career either on land or at sea.
Jimmy Buchan, chief executive of the Scottish Seafood Association, said: “Even if you start at entry level, or you come in from a different industry, if you show ability, ambition and enthusiasm you can go far quickly in seafood – whether you are working
in the factory or the offices – or even in the labs.
“I think there are huge opportunities for people who have qualifications or who have a lot of experience – and our member companies want those people working for them.”
A good career start
Richard Stephen has worked for Thistle Seafoods for over 20 years, starting as a factory operative and working his way into the engineering department and ultimately to his current position as engineering manager.
He explained: “I’d always been interested in mechanical work and fixing machines but I went straight into the workforce from school and didn’t have the opportunity to work in that area.
“But when I was working in the factory and the chance came up to move to the engineering team, I put my name in straight away and I haven’t looked back.”
Richard added that Thistle Seafoods provided him with the training needed throughout his career, and he’s now doing the same for new recruits coming into the department.
A move to grow
And it’s not just a great industry to start a career – many people have brought their experience, qualifications and skills from other jobs (particularly oil and gas) into seafood.
Andrew Brown, director of sustainability and public affairs at Macduff Shellfish, said: “In our company, we’ve seen people move from different areas of food production or
“And although there’s a general shortage of engineers, we don’t expect industry – specific knowledge as long as they have the skills and ability.”
One example of this is Dominic Afekhai , an engineering supervisor at International Fish Canners/Nor-Sea Foods, who moved from Liverpool to the north-east.
He explained: “Previously, I was working offshore and I did enjoy it, but as a family man the bonus about working in a fish factory is that I get to see them every day and come home every day when I finish my job.
“Working in oil, I noticed that sometimes if you excel in one area you are likely to do that same job for the rest of your career without getting to expand your experience.
“Prior to starting with IFC, I had never done welding, fabrication, electrical fault finding or PLC, but in my time here I have learned and trained in all of these.”
Over the past seven years with the company, Dominic’s potential stood out to his nanagers and he worked his way up to his current position, which now sees him supervising engineering work across the whole factory.
Lots of opportunities
Over 8,400 people in Scotland currently work in the seafood industry in a diverse range of roles spanning food processing and technology, HR, marketing, commercial and engineering.
Jimmy Buchan said: “There are positions and opportunities for all skills and levels of experience, it’s not too narrow a skillset that’s required and previous experience isn’t
“And no matter what, people always need to eat, so the industry will always be looking for good people to fill roles and help the industry thrive.”
So if you are looking for a new job in an industry that offers good pay, great opportunities and beautiful locations, visit the Sea A Bright Future website to find out more.