Careers and Training in Aquaculture

People who work in the UK fish and shellfish aquaculture sector, breed, rear and harvest various fish and shellfish species for consumption and commercial sale. Roles in the aquaculture sector are often not as clearly defined as those in sectors such as retail and foodservice; many of the tasks are done by all farm workers, including the farm manager and those undertaking wider management roles. However, specialised work areas such as the management of fish hatcheries, stock health/veterinary practitioners, laboratory services and engineering will usually have dedicated staff with higher skill levels.

Across the seafood industry the provision of appropriate training is essential to support business performance and development and ensure the safety of employees. The aquaculture sector is no exception and this page details some of the training opportunities available to those working in the sector.

Aquaculture Training Review

Seafish recently commissioned a Review of Practical, Operational Aquaculture Training across the UK. The purpose of the review was to understand the sector’s training needs, and assess the availability and current provision of training. The review has also helped inform plans for training and guidance to support good occupational health and safety practices for UK aquaculture businesses.

Download the full aquaculture training review report

Aquaculture Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships provide important ‘on-the-job’ training and skills development and are especially useful in helping new entrants to build the practical and operational skills required to work in the aquaculture industry. Lantra Scotland has developed a Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture to support the Scottish aquaculture industry. Apprenticeships are available at three levels, providing a progression route and career-development path from point of first-entry to the aquaculture industry through to senior management positions. The three levels are:

  • SVQ 2 Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture – SCQF Level 5
  • SVQ 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture – SCQF Level 7
  • SVQ 4 Technical Apprenticeship in Aquaculture Management – SCQF Level 9

These apprenticeship training courses are currently being delivered by the NAFC Marine Centre which is part of the University of Highlands and Islands. At present, these opportunities are only delivered in Scotland. Companies with sites outside Scotland can work with a Scottish training provider to allow their candidates to progress through the framework but financial contributions towards the costs of the qualification may vary depending on the home residency of the candidate in question.

Visit the Aquaculture page on the Skills Development Scotland website

Read more about Aquaculture Apprenticeships on the NAFC Marine Centre website

College and University Aquaculture Courses

Many people who work in the aquaculture sector gain educational degrees, either specifically in aquaculture, or in a related subject such as biology, marine biology, marine sciences, etc.. Many aquaculture and aquaculture-related training courses and qualifications are offered by UK universities, whilst more vocational training is provided by colleges of further and higher education.

A list of UK educational establishments offering aquaculture-related courses, which are included in the Review of Practical, Operational Aquaculture Training across the UK

Please note that courses can change, so we recommended you keep an eye on websites such as UCAS and Discover Uni.

Bivalve Training Courses

Seafish and the Seafood Training Academy provide information and training to employers and employees involved in the harvesting, purification, handling and trading of bivalve shellfish.

To find out more visit our Bivalve Purification Training webpage

Marine Safety Training

Seafish marine safety training developed for the fishing industry, is also very applicable to many aquaculture ventures, and could help develop practical and safety skills for those already in and/or entering the aquaculture industry.

To find out more visit our Seagoing Training webpage

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