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Although the trainee programme hasn’t finished, both Simen and Kari Anne have already been offered, and have accepted, a permanent job at Lerøy. The third trainee, Audun Narvestad, chose to move on to a doctoral fellowship instead.
“It is wonderful to have got a job at Lerøy already. That tells me they want me on the team, which I see as a vote of confidence!” says Simen, who is the new operations biologist at the Laksefjord department of Lerøy Aurora.
Kari Anne will take what she has learned as a trainee into her role as an improvement analyst at Lerøy Way Office, which is Lerøy’s own continuous improvement department.
“I think the experience and knowledge I have picked up will help me to do a much better job as an improvement analyst. In addition, I will get to use my strength, which is understanding the links between biology and technology so as to optimise the relationship between them”, says Kari Anne.
Simen officially took up his new job at the start of April, but he is still able to attend the training sessions with Kari Anne, the last one of which is scheduled for mid-August. He is very grateful for that.
“It is great to be allowed to complete the trainee programme in parallel with having a permanent position, and it means I can continue learning alongside getting stuck into my job as a new operations biologist at Laksefjord.”
Klemet Steen, the head of RAS technology who is in charge of the RAS trainee programme, says that he is not surprised that Simen and Kari Anne have been given permanent jobs.
“I think we did really well with our first set of trainees: not only were they highly qualified, they were also friendly, good candidates who are well liked and easy to get on with”, he says.
He believes that the trainee programme provides a fantastic opportunity for the successful candidates.
“It gives them a flying start to their careers. They don’t always realise how relevant the work experience is themselves, but regardless of whether they want to stay with us or move on, their training and work experience will be useful to them in their future careers”, says Klemet.
The RAS trainee programme has been so successful that Lerøy is going to repeat it. From 71 applicants, 3 people have now been selected for this year’s programme.
“That is fantastic!” says Klemet.
Nearly all of the applicants met the requirement to have a Master’s degree, and 15 of them had even specialised in RAS. With such high quality applicants, Klemet doesn’t try to hide the fact that they may want to increase the number of trainees in the future.
Simen thinks being an RAS trainee has offered a very good transition between life as a student and working life, and Kari Anne is in total agreement. She sums up the year as really fun, a bit challenging and very educational.
RAS stands for recirculating aquaculture system, and it involves up to 99 percent of the water used being recycled. Lerøy started using RAS in 2005, and since then it has continued to build more of these facilities. Currently, most of its onshore fish farms produce smolts and post-smolts.
“RAS has a growing role, and it is becoming an increasingly important input for aquaculture companies”, says Klemet.
Lerøy has built three large RAS facilities at Laksefjord, Belsvik and Kjærelva, and that is where the RAS trainees will work over the course of the year. Simen says there are big differences between them, and although they are part of the same company, the working day can be completely different.
“As RAS trainees we’re supposed to learn as much as possible about RAS, so we cannot just stay at one facility, because many things can be done differently. If one facility was built four years after another one, there will be many technological differences between them”, he says.
“It has been really interesting to see how the various facilities work on dealing with the challenges they face. They have different ways of solving them”, says Kari Anne.
However aquaculture develops in the future, Klemet is convinced that the role of RAS will be equally big, if not bigger.