Week one of being a Saltire Scholar is coming to an end and it has flown by. It has been a week filled with meeting all the welcoming and enthusiastic staff at Aquascot here in the Highlands. The reception given by the Leadership Team from the moment we arrived immediately put me at ease. Lulu (my fellow Saltire Scholar who will be interning in another department) and I were given full inductions, allowing us to begin to piece together how they go from whole fish to shelf-ready product at such a rate of knots. This included tours of both their processing sites (named Fyrish and Riverside after their locations). It was amazing to see how skilled the operators on the shop-floor are, and how sophisticated the existing automated machinery is.
Throughout my internship, I will be aiding in the integration of a new system that will make shop-floor data capture easier. Access to this data is essential to be able to make informed decisions in the future. Aquascot are going through a period of rapid growth at the moment due to an increase in people cooking at home, so it is the decisions now that will pay off dividends in the future. Another important reason for the new system is traceability – knowing exactly where each product was farmed, when it was processed and how long for. This information needs to be readily accessible, as food safety governing bodies can carry out spot checks at random.
As far as my goals for this internship are concerned, I definitely intend to make a contribution to my project team in any way I can; but also to be a sponge and absorb as much as I can from them. There is so much for me to learn and I can’t wait to bombard people with questions until they are (nearly) sick of the sight of me!