The launch, which is taking place on 1 October, comes alongside a refresh of the WiSA advisory group, with three new faces joining the core team. Replacing previous group members are Donald Waring, learning and development manager at Mowi; Helena Reinardy, training fellow and researcher at SAMS and Matilda Lomas-MacKenzie, biology and cleaner fish coordinator at the Scottish Salmon Company.
The digital forum has been funded by Marine Scotland and will provide a virtual space for members to connect with one another, access exclusive events, share career and training opportunities, and engage in discussions around diversity and inclusion in the sector.
WiSA members, and anyone working in the sector interested in joining the network, are invited to meet the new advisory group and join a live demonstration of the new platform as part of a virtual launch event on 1 October.
The development of the online forum follows the success of a similar initiative by the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC), which launched a collaboration hub for its consortium members in July. WiSA was founded in partnership with SAIC and launched on International Women’s Day 2019 to celebrate the role of women in aquaculture, promote diversity and support career development.
Teresa Garzon, WiSA chair, said: “The launch of the digital forum is an important milestone for WiSA. More than ever, we have come to recognise the power and value of online connections and resources during the past 18 months. Our aim is to ensure that aquaculture companies continue to have access to a diverse talent pool that can help the sector to develop and grow, with equal opportunities for all.
“We have just completed a second round of our over-subscribed mentoring programme, connecting leaders in aquaculture with ambitious women looking to develop their careers and skills. The online forum will allow members to nurture their existing relationships, made through the mentoring programme and other WiSA events and initiatives, as well as connecting with others from across the sector.”
Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, added: “Aquaculture in Scotland has a wide geographical spread, which only reinforces the need for equality and fair opportunities for people all over the country. With an online platform to encourage engagement and discussion, our members can get involved with important conversations around diversity in aquaculture and pave the way for the next generation coming into the sector.”