“Inclusive culture is key to long-term business resilience,” says Scottish Sea Farms


The SALMON producer Scottish Sea Farms has been recognized for its ongoing efforts to foster a diverse and inclusive culture and, in doing so, safeguard the long-term viability of its remote farms and facilities.

The company received the Economic Sustainability Award at the 2022 Aquaculture Awards, held at the MacDonald Resort Aviemore, for significant progress in recruitment and retention at a time of fiercer competition for talent than ever.

Tracy Bryant-Shaw, Head of Human Resources and Business Support for Scottish Sea Farms, said: “In 2020, we have set ourselves the goal of becoming the employer of choice within our communities and industry, and we have since reviewed and revised our key policies.

“Because ensuring we meet the needs and wants of today’s employees is crucial if we are to continue to recruit and retain the best, and this latest award – which follows the triple re – Investors in People accreditation in 2021 – is further affirmation of the very real progress we are making.

Among the key changes introduced are improved maternity and paternity packages for all employees with a year or more seniority, changes which proved an immediate hit with the company’s younger employees.

Sarah Last, new mum and agricultural manager of the company’s Summer Isles Farms, said: ‘Knowing that the company chooses to provide for me and others in our choice to raise a family, on a much higher level at the government’s normal legal rate, is incredible news. .

“It supports those who support the business and hopefully encourages more women into the industry as well.”

In addition to the family-friendly policies on offer, Scottish Sea Farms recently piloted a scheme to help working parents in Shetland with 25% of childcare costs. Such was the success of the trial that work is already underway to roll out the program to all of its agricultural regions.

However, ensuring a more diverse and inclusive culture goes far beyond gender. To this end, the company has achieved a broader candidate profile by:

  • Collaborate with Argyll College to design a new course, Into Aquaculture, to encourage more high school students to consider salmon farming as a career choice
  • Partnership with military recruitment specialist JobOppO to help ex-military personnel find new civilian employment suited to their skills and expertise
  • Support third-party initiatives to encourage more women to return to work, such as the Women into Scottish Aquaculture scheme, run by the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre, and the Women Returners scheme, funded by the Scottish Government and administered by Skills Development Scotland .

In Scottish Sea Farms’ second win of the evening, Stephen Woods – a farm manager in Charlotte’s Bay, Oban, and one of the company’s most successful farm managers of all time – was named Finfish Farmer of the Year for its commitment to fish welfare and the excellent results obtained.

In the words of General Manager Jim Gallagher: Stephen is the farm manager every producer wants: he cares deeply about his fish, has forensic knowledge of what goes on on his farm and he takes full responsibility for everything under his control, with as a result, it consistently provides a high fish survival rate at a low baseline cost. If there was a mold to make more Stephen Woods, I would be the first to buy it.

As for the man himself? “It’s nice to be recognized for hard work and dedication over the years,” said Stephen upon receiving his award. “I have always felt well supported and appreciated by the company itself, but this industry award is the icing on the cake, not only for me but also for my wife and family who see first hand how I invest myself in my role.”


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