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My week at the SAMS Academy

My week at the SAMS Academy

The trip down to Oban from Skye was filled with apprehension. I’ve never been in a classroom since 2010. Where will everyone be coming from? Will I be advanced enough to join the class? Is it going to be interactive or academic? Can I remember all I’ve read about in the Argyle and Bute feasibility study!

But that’s why I’ve signed up. To learn all I can about a nascent but innovative industry – how to design a kelp farm; how to culture kelp spores; how to seed lines and how to harvest the crop. I’m determined to learn as much as I can from the week’s training. My head is buzzing with so many questions as I drift off in the comfort of Premier Inn.

Day one and in at the deep end. An introduction to the week ahead is given. Everything I hoped for and much more we would be covering is on the itinerary. In fact there is so much outlined I begin to wonder if it’s possible to grasp everything. With over 20 modules from an introduction to the industry, to ITMA and Blue Carbon, we all quickly got into a way of discussing each topic as a team. The course included visits to the seaweed farm, guest lectures, and a series of workshops, which was a great way of meeting everyone – beginners to advanced level.

All the SAMS team were very welcoming and let us learn from their previous experiences, both good and bad. They listened to our individual questions and were able to bring in key members from their team to have one on one sessions where we needed to dive deeper into different sections of each module. Every day was backed up with copies of presentations and helpful supporting papers. Each evening I’m sending back loads of really useful information to the Kaly Team . . . along with . . . What kind of growing lines are we thinking of? Have we thought of two seasons crops? How are we going to involve the community?

Mind you not every evening was spent on everything to do with kelp – memorable times were to be had at the Oban Inn Pub pub where we all ended up singing our hearts out to the live Scottish music. Great fun.

What a fantastic week where I learned a huge amount and made so many good friends. The people at SAMS made the week’s experience a memorable one, and I can highly recommend it to anybody interested to know more about the seaweed industry.

Even the exam was enjoyable!

Grace Kelly Hare – Community Colleague at Kaly