What is your job title?
I am the Licensing Policy Manager within the Regulation and Licensing team.
What are your main responsibilities?
I issue and maintain fishing vessel licences informing fishermen of what they are allowed to do, in particular where, what and how they can catch fish. I provide advice on what licences can be used in different circumstances and authorise licence transactions.
I give authorisation to vessels to conduct research work within Scottish waters which allows Marine Scotland, the UK and other Fisheries Administrations to assess fishing stocks. I provide information to a wide range of stakeholders, including Ministers, on topics such as the number of licences Marine Scotland issue, the number of Real Time Closures (these are areas closed to fishermen for 21 days to protect Cod in the area) and details of specific fishing vessels.
What skills do you need to be able to do your job?
I have to speak to lots of people – both within the Scottish Government and outside, so strong communication skills are vital. I need to read and understand some complicated documents, including legal ones, for my job. Good written skills are also very important because I have to write a range of documents that include technical information. They have to be clear and easy to understand.
What qualifications do you need to do your job?
I used to work for Jobcentre Plus, another Civil Service department. When I applied for the job, I had to have a number of Higher Grades, including English, and during the application process I was tested on my literacy and numeracy skills. I then transferred to the Scottish Government.
What are the highlights of your job?
I love the fact that one day is never the same as the next and I get to work with a wide variety of people.
And any low points?
Since joining Marine Scotland my brother now refers to me as the Kipper Counter!
What advice would you give to someone interested in your line of work?
Fishing vessel licensing cuts across many parts of Marine Scotland, so an understanding of the different areas is useful. When I joined, I did this by looking at the Marine Scotland website and asking lots of questions!
What interested you about your line of work?
My Granddad always wanted to work on fishing boats, but never did. I think the fishing theme was passed to me. I like the fact that fishing within Scotland is so important, not just from a historical point of view, but for the future too.It is exciting to be a part of that.
How long have you worked with Marine Scotland?
Since August 2011.
How did you get started with Marine Scotland?
When I was working at Jobcentre Plus I heard positive stories from ex-colleagues who had transferred to the Scottish Government, in particular Marine Scotland.
What would be your advice to your younger self when making subject, study and career choices?
When I was at school I originally wanted to be a primary teacher and this shaped my subject choices. However, I actually went on to study Psychology and Sociology at university, which within 2 years I decided wasn’t for me – I left university to work in anightclub!
The advice I would give is to choose subjects that can be used widely – English and Maths are often the ones I have been tested against in my working career. However, in my experience employers look at the capability of being able to study and pass exams, rather than the subjects themselves. Build up your transferrable skills from life, study and work and they will give you a good basis for whatever career you decide on.