Two aquaculture trainees, from Bakkafrost and Scottish Sea Farms, have been shortlisted for the Lantra Scotland Awards for Land and Aquaculture Skills (ALBAS).

    The awards, which take place on Thursday 9 March in Dunblane, recognize excellence in training and education in land and sea farming.

    Craig Johnstone, from Tarbert in Argyll & Bute, completed a technical apprenticeship in aquaculture through UHI Shetland, while working as a site manager for Bakkafrost Scotland.

    He said: “Coming from Tarbert and having a family involved in aquaculture, it was natural for me to follow in their footsteps. I love the community culture of the industry and there is so much to learn. My learning has taught me how to achieve my goals and helped me overcome all the challenges that have come my way.

    Lori Smith, from Bixter in Shetland, completed a modern aquaculture apprenticeship through UHI Shetland, while working as a fish farm technician for Scottish Sea Farms.

    She said: “I was born and raised in the Shetland Islands, where aquaculture is one of our main industries, so I naturally developed an interest in the sector. I love the diversity of my role and how every day is different. Every day you aim to provide the best fish care, which is very rewarding.

    Lantra Scotland is a charity which strives to increase the number and diversity of employees in the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation sector, and to support the development of their skills.

    Industry categories at this year’s ALBAS include agriculture, aquaculture, horses, game and wildlife, horticulture, land engineering, and trees and timber.

    In addition to the overall winner, runner-up and Modern Apprentice of the Year awards, there are also awards for higher education, students and secondary schools, CARAS (Council of Agricultural Society Awards), a Mentor Award for Inspirational Tutor, Tam Tod Trophy and Anna Murray Award for Working in Partnership.

    The ALBAS 2023 finalists were selected by an independent jury of influential figures from the land and aquaculture sector, chaired by Keith Paterson of Forestry and Land Scotland.

    Lori Smith

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