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WiSA launches inaugural mentoring program

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) will begin a series of Scottish government-supported diversity initiatives with the launch of a new mentoring program in January 2020. The scheme – to be delivered in partnership with Skillfluence – will match some of the most influential leaders in aquaculture with aspiring women in the sector looking to develop their careers and skills.

Through one-to-one sessions, the mentoring program will provide training and support for both mentees and mentors. Participants in the program will meet over several months to develop skills such as creating a network, making career decisions, cultivating leadership styles and building confidence.

For its first cohort, WiSA is now looking for senior aquaculture professionals to act as mentors, as well as women looking to enhance their aquaculture careers to take on the role of mentee.

Charlotte Maddocks, co-chair of WiSA, said that “WiSA mentoring is about matching the experience of one person with the potential of another. We are looking for female mentees, as well as female and male mentors, from across the industry who want to make a difference by taking part in the program, helping us encourage and nurture aquaculture’s next generation of female leaders. Being a mentor can be an incredibly rewarding experience, contributing to professional development and helping to shape the industry’s future.”

Photo by Loch Duart.

Launched on International Women’s Day 2019, WiSA is a collaborative initiative and follows a SAIC (Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre) consultation of 200 people working in the sector. Nearly all (90%) of the respondents were keen to see a network of support for women working, or considering a career, in the industry and more than three-quarters expressed an interest in joining the group.

Earlier this year, the Scottish Government announced a £20,000 investment commitment to WiSA at the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers conference. Combined with an additional £30,000 of industry sponsorship, the funding is being used to encourage more women to enter the sector, provide a supportive network across industry and academia, and support partners to harness the potential of women in aquaculture.

WiSA membership is open to anyone, of any gender, studying or working in Scottish aquaculture. Many of Scotland’s major producers, including Grieg Seafood, Cooke Aquaculture, the Scottish Salmon Company, Mowi, Loch Duart and Scottish Sea Farms, have joined forces to pledge their support for this ground-breaking collaboration network.

Anyone interested in becoming a WiSA mentor or mentee can apply by January 10, 2020 at wisa.scottishaquaculture.com.

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