A total of £50,000 is being invested to help increase the number of women working in Scottish aquaculture.
The funding will deliver a mentoring scheme to support women already working in the sector develop their careers, and a website to promote aquaculture and job opportunities to women.
The Scottish Government will provide £20,000 to Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA), with a further £30,000 of industry sponsorship. In 2018 only 11% of salmon farm workers and 15% of shellfish farm workers were women.
Making the announcement at the annual conference of the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers in Oban, 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.
“Women in Scottish Aquaculture 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 kick-start this work. I hope it will lead to many more women considering a career in aquaculture.”
Heather Jones, CEO of the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre, 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.”
WiSA was launched by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham and SAIC on International Women’s Day in March.