By Keith Rideout and Craig Parsons
During the winter of 2017 and in partnership with the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association (NAIA), the Fisheries and Marine Institute (MI) of Memorial University of Newfoundland’s Community Based Education Delivery (CBED) unit delivered the inaugural offering of the Technical Certificate — Aquaculture Management (CAM) program.
The CAM program grew out of the success of the Technical Certificate in Aquaculture (TCA) that was offered to industry participants between 2010 and 2014.
The CAM was designed to pick up where the TCA left off. By 2015, experienced and technically strong industry participants had a demonstrated need for more managerial type training.
While these individuals, through TCA training and on-the-job experience, had the technical farming skills to be successful, they needed management training to make them more capable supervisors.
The 12-day CAM program (three days per course) consists of two required courses and two elective courses that can be selected from several possible options.
Courses span a wide range of aquaculture management skills and include topics as diverse as human resources, project management, farm management, communications, regulations and policy, calculations as well as computer skills. All courses were developed from the national occupational standard validated by the Canadian Agricultural Human Resource Council (CAHRC) and the Canadian aquaculture industry.
The inagural offering of the Technical Certificate — Aquaculture Management was funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), the provincial Department of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation (TCII), Cold Ocean Salmon (Newfoundland Marine Operations of Cooke Aquaculture), Northern Harvest Sea Farms and Sunrise Fish Farms.
Between January and May 2017, courses were offered in Hermitage, Harbour Breton and Pool’s Cove, wherever it made the most sense for the majority of the students.
During nine offerings of the seven CAM courses, 87 participants took part. All course participants completed an evaluation form at the end of each workshop that rated their overall impression of the course. These evaluations included such things as whether the content taught matched expectations, the effectiveness of instruction, the quality of teaching materials and the quality of the teaching environment. The ratings for the courses were very positive and participants expressed very high satisfaction with the course content and instruction.
Some examples of student comments included: “Great job! Very enthusiastic and positive.” “The overall course is phenomenal. My only suggestion would be to do a recap in 6 months’ time or so. With so much information it would be good to recap to ensure we didn’t miss anything.” “They were engaging and sparked good conversation in our groups.”
Approximately 15 individuals were able to complete the four courses required for the CAM certificate. The intention is to hold a graduation ceremony during the NAIA Cold Harvest conference in the Fall of 2017.
Perhaps Amy Negrijn, Environmental Sustainability and Projects Coordinator, Northern Harvest Sea Farms NL Ltd. and recent participant in the CAM program, has best summarized the utility of the CAM program to the aquaculture industry, “The Technical Certificate — Aquaculture Management training offers employees of Northern Harvest Sea Farms the opportunity to expand their management skills in a growing and demanding aquaculture industry,” she said. “As Northern Harvest has expanded, so too has the demand for further technical expertise in various management roles within the company. These areas, which include human resource management as well as the refined training and use of technology in the workplace, improve efficiency and accuracy while ensuring that Northern Harvest will continue to be a strong competitor in the global market.”
For more information on the program or details on upcoming sessions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org, call 709-778-0623 or visit https://www.mi.mun.ca/CBED.