Richard Darbyshire is a member of the DYW Orkney Regional Group Board and is the Regional Production Manager - Orkney for Scottish Sea Farms.
“I graduated with a BSc. (Hons) in Biological Sciences back in 1989. I had specialised in Marine Biology, was a keen scuba diver and went fishing whenever I had any spare time. Careers related to my qualifications were limited in those days, but I was keen to enter the aquaculture industry. Salmon farming was a new industry back then and I was determined to enter the sector. I applied for a Graduate Management Trainee position at a large salmon farming company and I was fortunate enough to be taken on. As a result, I quickly gained experience and was given further training on fish health biology, boat skipper qualifications, health and safety, engineering and man management. I quickly progressed and within 12 months I had been promoted to Assistant Farm Manager.
“I joined Scottish Sea Farms in 1998 as a Site Manager and I moved around the company managing bigger and more complex sites to gain further experience and progress up the career ladder. The opportunity to manage and expand the Orkney farming region within SSF came in 2008 and I have been here ever since.
“I have overseen the expansion of our salmon farming activity from 1000T/year to 8000T/year. I am also proud to say that we have grown our workforce from 11 to 51 members of staff during these 10 years creating new jobs in farming, engineering, fish health and admin.”
Why did you get involved with DYW Orkney?
“As we are actively expanding our operations, we are keen to communicate to young folk the wide range of exciting opportunities that now exist within marine farming.
“SSF have an industry leading training and development programme that includes Modern Apprenticeships. Ideally the next step for us is to create Foundation Apprenticeships in Aquaculture and also develop an SQA NPA Aquaculture for S3 and S4 pupils. I am hopeful that DYW Orkney and SDS will be able to facilitate this process.
“I am looking forward to forging better links with the Orkney schools careers advisers so that they are aware of the wide range of well-paid and varied career options that now exist within the Aquaculture sector. Aquaculture is expanding globally to feed an ever-expanding world population, this is a sector that has a great future and long-term career prospects, the industry needs intelligent and well-trained youngsters, hopefully we can secure this talent locally from within Orkney.”