When first-year aquaculture student Ruby Boyd finished a stint of work experience on NZ King Salmon’s Ngamahau sea farm in the Tory Channel, she liked it so much she asked if she could return to work for the summer.

The answer was “yes”, so Ruby, 18, has spent the last three months gaining valuable experience across a range of areas within NZ King Salmon’s sea farm operations.

Ruby arrived at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT) last year, fresh out of high school in Whakatane, after she happened to meet an NMIT lecturer who told her about their aquaculture course.

She applied for a NZ King Salmon Aquaculture Scholarship for Year 1 and was awarded it.

A few months later, having successfully passed the year, Ruby’s relationship with NZ King Salmon continued with work experience and then summer employment on each NZ King Salmon Tory Channel sea farm.

NZKS’s Grant Rosewarne and Jemma McCowan (front) with 2018 NMIT scholarship recipients – Ruby Boyd is centre back

Ruby says she spent eight weeks working on Clay Point, two weeks at Te Pangu and one week at Ngamahau, gaining a myriad of skills.

“During my time with NZKS I have been working within the team to undertake general fish farming activities. These consisted of inputting data into Fishtalk – NZ King Salmon’s integrated software system, filling feed silos, installing in-pen lights, learning basic net mending skills, environmental plankton sampling using a microscope, classifying plankton daily readings, general farm maintenance, and assisting with wildlife interactions.”

Ruby says she has enjoyed the team atmosphere, not to mention earning a bit of money during her summer study break.

“The experience working for NZKS over the summer has been great. I have really enjoyed my work mates and being part of the team.”

While she is not clear which area of aquaculture she would like to work in after her course finishes, Ruby says work experience did help to clarify that salmon farming is an area she is interested in.

For now, she’s headed back to NMIT for another year of study. Ruby admits she’s not looking forward to more assignments, but the course has been great for opening her eyes to the aquaculture industry in general.

NZ King Salmon farm