Two leading seafood industry organisations have teamed up for a new campaign aimed at tackling long-standing recruitment challenges in the processing sector.
Attracting new people into the £1.6 billion Scottish seafood industry has never been easy, with many of the jobs often perceived as being smelly, dirty and possibly dangerous.
Fish and shellfish processors have for many years had to rely on people from elsewhere in Europe doing work that most Scots find unappealing.
But now the seafood industry has confronted the issue by launching a drive to highlight the wide variety of roles available and find people to fill them.
There are more than 8,400 people in Scotland currently working in the seafood industry in a diverse range of roles spanning food processing and technology, human resources, marketing, commercial and engineering.
Industry bodies Seafish and the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA) hope their new campaign, Sea A Bright Future, will showcase a “wealth of opportunities” available.
SSA chief executive Jimmy Buchan said: “The seafood processing sector is vibrant, unlike some other industries just now, and offers a diverse range of career options within both large and small companies.
“There are huge opportunities for people to go far in the seafood industry if they show the right ability, ambition and enthusiasm.
“This campaign seeks to shine a light on that, and put a career in the sector into the hearts and minds of those looking for an exciting new challenge.
“With the coronavirus pandemic, people are evaluating not just what they do but where they do it, and with seafood companies often located in attractive rural settings you get more living space – whether buying or renting – for your money.”
Job perks highlighted by Sea A Bright Future include flexible hours for those juggling carer and childcare responsibilities, or those simply looking for a better work-life balance.
The industry is also trumpeting opportunities for career progression, and its capacity for equipping employees with the skills and knowledge they need to develop themselves and further their careers.
Vacancies span from entry to senior level, whether it is on the factory floor, or in companies’ offices or laboratories.
Skills sets that are in great demand across the sector include engineering and food technologists, according to SSA members Thistle Seafoods, Macduff Shellfish and International Fish Canners.
Thistle Seafoods managing director Ryan Scatterty said: “We are always on the lookout for good engineers to join us, and there are many transferable skills from across the oil and gas industry, or those leaving the armed forces, for example, that we would hope to attract.
“Similarly, food technologists are also in high demand and (jobs) may be suitable for those in the hospitality sector looking for a new challenge.”
It is not just large operators like Thistle Seafoods that are looking to attract new recruits.
Hebridean firm Islay Crab Exports is struggling to fill six roles in scallop processing, with bosses hoping the Covid-19 pandemic may encourage people to move to the islands and start a new career.