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The Seafood in Colleges programme, funded through the Scottish Seafood Partnership in collaboration with Seafood Scotland and College Development Network, has just delivered its fifth successful event, with a full day at North East Scotland College in Fraserburgh on 11 June.

Around 40 staff and students were joined by senior students from Fraserburgh Academy due to start their studies at the college in September 2015.

“Our Seafood in Colleges events have been so well received around Scotland, that we wanted to get the new students enthused about using fish and shellfish before they begin their studies,” said organiser Kate Mathieson from College Development Network. “We also wanted to give them a wider industry perspective about careers and opportunities.”

Participants attended three workshops.

The first, hosted by chef Tony Jackson demonstrating seafood cookery using locally caught species, including some facts and figures about the health benefits of eating more seafood, presented by Eric Ramaz, from the college’s Sport and Fitness Team.

In the second workshop, Will Clark from Willsea Ltd, a local processor and head of the Scottish Seafood Association (SSA), kept the audience enthralled with his skilful demonstration of fish filleting. He also spoke about the importance of using high quality fresh fish, and gave his audience some useful pointers about how to choose and store seafood.

The seafood supply chain and the wide range of careers available in the industry, was the subject of the final workshop, which was hosted by Michael Bates from the SSA and Mark Stephen of Jack Taylor Direct, who spoke about his own engineering background, his time as a fisherman, and his new successful business, Jack Taylor Direct, which he operates with his business partner locally in Fraserburgh.

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“Many people associate a career in seafood merely with the catching sector, so we show just how many different opportunities there are, from nutritionists to product development technicians, fish farm managers to logistics experts and packaging technologists to food photographers to name just a few,” said Kate Mathieson. “We also explain the qualifications available to students wanting to forge a pathway into the wider food and drink manufacturing sector.”

To round off the event, Jess Sparks from Seafood Scotland gave a ‘fishy facts’ presentation about the importance of using seasonal supplies, the efforts being undertaken by the Scottish industry to ensure that stocks are sustainable and responsibly caught, and the vital role of the cool chain in getting quality supplies from the sea to the plate. Jess posed some tricky about fish and shellfish species during his presentation.

“The students and staff were very attentive during the day, and I was impressed that they were able to provide all the answers,” said Jess Sparks. “The seafood industry is a complex but exciting business and we hope that some of the participants today might be encouraged to get involved when they leave college.”

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