Aims and objectives

The overall goal is to investigate, study and identify skills gaps within the European aquaculture workforce, determine VET demand and supply, and establish industry and VET providers’ receptiveness to innovative VET delivery methods.

Aim 1      Investigate the definition and application of Aquaculture Occupational Profiles and Standards  (AOPS)

  • Investigate the establishment of a Labour Skills Foresight forum with producer and supply company representation, to investigate job functions and occupational profile definitions, that are applicable to European marine cage rearing.
  • Investigate the application of AOPS at company, VET provider and national level, to identify good practice examples within European aquaculture VET provision.
  • Define AOPS for selected high priority occupations and levels within European marine cage based fish production, technical operations and processing, to guide the ‘skills gap analysis’.

Aim 2      Evaluate the demand from industry for aquaculture education and training

  • Analyse aquaculture skills and training needs with reference to existing published information to confirm the existing evidence base.
  • Define the knowledge and skills gaps at each occupational level within marine cage farming, including the identification of language barriers to learning and mobility, in order to inform VET development priorities.
  • Establish the current and emerging ICT and environmental management skills required in cage based aquaculture, culminating in defined competences for inclusion within the European AOPS.
  • Evaluate the nature of demand for aquaculture VET including the preferred delivery modes, technical content and certification, to inform future VET developments.

Aim 3      Evaluate aquaculture education and training supply

  • Map existing aquaculture VET courses and qualifications to the AOPS and EQF, including statutory training, to create a navigable inventory of existing qualifications and qualification pathways.
  • Identify equivalencies between existing aquaculture qualifications in different salmon producing countries to enable areas of commonality to be identified and described.
  • Evaluate VET staff qualifications, skills and experience, including; aquaculture, teaching and industry partnerships or provider networks, to determine the collective staff capacity and innovative VET development capability.
  • Evaluate VET delivery modes deployed by providers, including; conventional face to face delivery, workplace learning and ICT enabled learning, to determine VET accessibility and the sectors capacity for innovation.
  • Evaluate ‘learning cultures’ within salmon farming and technology supply companies’ to determine their investment in workforce development and their attitude towards education and training.

Aim 4     Investigate and evaluate the aquaculture VET assessment process

  • Investigate VET regulation in European countries, to identify the specific responsibilities for VET governance and quality assurance at national level.
  • Investigate VET quality assurance (QA) at provider level, to determine the effectiveness of existing policies and practices for the quality assurance of learning and assessment.
  • Investigate the accreditation of prior learning (APL) in each country, to identify transferable best practice leading to gains in VET efficiency and effectiveness longer term.
  • Evaluate work based assessment practices; including the application of ICT enabled assessment and QA systems, clarifying the specific role of employers and providers.


This project has been funded with support from the European Commission. This publication reflects the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use, which may be made of the information contained therein.