Education, Training and skills Development in Aquaculture

We offer a broad spectrum of training opportunities relevant to careers and personal development in the Aquaculture Industry from working with schools through CPD modules to MSc and PhD programmes that complement and include our research activities. Whatever you are interested in, use the links in the below sections to explore our expertise in development and applied science. Many of the following qualifications have been designed in partnership with the Sector Skills Council, Lantra, to ensure relevance to the sector - read more about the Lantra framework . If you have a training/development/CPD requirement please contact either of the two people mentioned at the bottom of this page in the first instance, who will put you in touch with the most appropriate person or department.

Working with schools

The National Progression Award (NPA) in Aquaculture provides opportunities for secondary school pupils to develop the necessary skills for a future career within the salmon farming industry. Set at SCQF levels 4 and 5, the Award takes a very practical and vocational approach with much of the delivery taking place, where possible, at aquaculture sites. Students at Campbeltown Grammar get an extra boost to lessons with help from experts from the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC). Students take a close look at Salmon, attending presentations from the biology, production and HR departments at SSC which brought to life the subjects they’ve been studying, along with a visit SSC’s sites at Stronachullin.

HR Director at the Scottish Salmon Company, Debra Nichol-Storie said: “I am pleased the Scottish Salmon Company has been able to work so closely with Argyll College UHI in the support of this course. “It’s really important to us that young people feel there are local, sustainable employment opportunities available and that they can find opportunities which will keep them close to home."

“This qualification has been developed to offer a balance between studying the skills required by industry and real work experience, leaving candidates in a better position for a career in the sector.”

You can study this course at Argyll College UHI, Lews Castle College UHI, NAFC Marine Centre UHI .

Modern apprenticeships

These courses are aimed at those who work in the fish farming industry, and run at SVQ Aquaculture level 2 and 3. They are recognised qualifications designed by the industry and aimed at those carrying out the daily husbandry duties on either a freshwater or marine site. It can be used as part of a progression plan within an individuals place of work and is particularly useful for those without any formal qualifications in aquaculture. It offers the candidate the opportunity to demonstrate the skills they have learnt, and also fill any gaps in their knowledge and understanding of the fish farm industry.

Presentation giving more background information 
Read a case study of a successful candidates experience of the programme

You can study these courses at Inverness College UHI (level 2 or level 3) or NAFCMC (level 2 or level 3) - read course brochures.

Degree programmes

Undergraduate: BSc(Hons) Marine scienceBSc (Hons) Marine Science with Arctic Studies

For candidates who are passionate about marine science and want to study in an area with a wealth of marine and coastal environment, this degree is for you. Study modules such as aquaculture, fisheries ecology, marine environmental impact assessment to gain an understanding of the science and management of our oceans. The Arctic Studies version of this course adds on the opportunity to spend up to one year studying environmental sciences in the Arctic through our established link with the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS), Spitzbergen. 


MSc Aquaculture, Environment and Society - The course is designed to equip you with detailed knowledge of world aquaculture and the experience to operate in this global sector, whether in aquaculture, technology or related commercial sectors, as policy makers or managers or progressing to research and academia. This European Masters degree is taught by an international team of experts. The course gives students an opportunity to study for 6 months in three European countries and an unparalleled insight into aquaculture practices and policies across Europe and beyond.

MSc Ecosystem-Based Management of Marine Systems (with the University of St Andrews) - This demanding and ambitious Masters programme is designed to train the next generation of managers and marine scientists needed to deliver integrated coastal zone management around the world.  Relevant for careers in marine energy and food sectors, government agencies or academia.

Erasmus Mundus Master Degree in AquaCulture, Environment and Society (ACES) (with the universities of Crete and Nantes) - This is a unique opportunity to study in the United Kingdom, Crete and France, as well as allowing you to gain the practical and theoretical skills needed for a successful career in aquaculture through industry-led research programmes and fieldwork.

MRes Algal Biotechnology - Exploitation of the marine environment, specifically the application of Blue Biotechnology will be pivotal to sustainable global development over the next 20-30 years. Algae, the major primary producers in aquatic ecosystems, are of increasing importance to the biotechnology sector as they can provide a sustainable source of a wide range of products without the need to compete for space with terrestrial crops. This course is lead by SAMS and is currently not available.

MSc by Research - one-year full-time research projects (two-year part-time) with a number of areas of focus to choose from.

PhD: there are a wide variety of on-going PhD programmes covering many areas related to aquaculture.  Please see our to view current PhD opportunities.

Short courses

These courses are all offered out of NAFC Marine Centre UHI on Shetlands west coast, further information can be found on the NAFC Marine Centre UHI website:

Fish Welfare – 1 day
Fish Welfare – 2 day
Introductory Fish Health  
Sea Lice Identification and Recording  
Water Quality Awareness for staff involved in operating recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS)

The NAFC Marine Centre UHI's aquaculture training programme has received the best-possible ranking in it's 2017 SQA review and during 2017 over 100 students have enrolled on this online course.  The external verifier commented that students "were very positive regarding their experiences on the courses", and appreciated the regular contact and support from NAFC staff who, it was noted, "are highly experienced and qualified."

Key staff working in this field: | Murray Stark | Sue Engstrand | Stuart Fitzsimmons |

Main Contacts for this topic  and