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Skilling up the next generation of Creative Crew

Chloe McGowan, Creative’s 2021 VIU Fish and Aquaculture diploma program summer student.

When it comes to team building, good people can be hard to find. Attitude, some say, is everything – show up, do your best, and learn with every chance you get.

Many members of the Creative Crew started their careers by learning on the job. Some got a head start on building the skills needed to hit the ground running with the help of Vancouver Island University’s (VIU) Fisheries and Aquaculture diploma program.

“The program is designed to develop well-rounded technologists with a broad background in the practical and academic skills of fish and invertebrate culture, fisheries habitat and fish stock assessment, wild stock management, and environmental control and planning,” says Mark Noyon, professor in the VIU Fisheries and Aquaculture Department.

The program is a valuable pipeline for top talent in the aquaculture industry. Creative is proud to be a work-experience partner and employer of many graduates including four of the six current employees at its hatchery near Duncan.

Since the VIU program started in the 1980s, hundred of students have gained critical work experience to round out their studies.

“We have a long history of hosting practicum students at our hatchery,” says Creative’s Sea Spring Hatchery Manager, Peter Griffiths. “We host students for three to four consecutive Tuesdays and they rotate throughout the year.”

Creative also hires summer students like Chloe McGowan, who finished her work term last September.

Chloe grew up in Quesnel, B.C. and says the idea of aquaculture was new to her when she started exploring higher education. In fact, she’d never seen a live salmon before. “First time doing a harvest, I was surprised to see how big they are.”

Starting from scratch, Chloe says, was an advantage. “I came at aquaculture with an open mind. It’s a lot of work and a lot of science that I’ve now had the chance to see for myself.”

Practical experience is really important to making the theoretical components of the training land with students, says Mark. “We deliver a lot of hands-on learning, but count on external support to expand our students’ knowledge and skill sets. They get to apply what they’ve learned from the program, but more importantly, they get to observe and work with industry and government experts and develop strong industry contacts.”

Chloe is happy with the career path she chose. “If you like to be outdoors and being by the ocean, and want to be more informed and involved in how it’s managed, a career in aquaculture is a good fit.”

To learn more about VIU’s aquaculture program, visit:


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