Build your network within the industry while you study

By Janne Karin Brodin

Elise med en fisk i hånden
Elise på jobb som produksjonsleder i settefiskPhoto: Klaus Nyhammer

That was what Elise Olafsen did, and was therefore guaranteed a job as a production manager at a hatchery before she finished her studies in aquaculture.

Elise Olafsen
Education: Master in aquaculture - aquaculture technology and management
Job: Production manager in Blom Settefisk

Elise works as production manager at Blom Settefisk AS, a subsidiary of Blom Fiskeoppdrett AS. Blom is mainly engaged in the production of Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout in Western Norway, with a value chain from hatchery to food fish.

"I currently work in a department on Askøy, where we have a hatchery, growth and smolt production, and I'm part of a production team where we plan production from roe to sea release," says Elise.

In addition to administrative roles, Elise is also responsible for managing the facility. A job that offers a lot of flexibility and variety.

Her tasks can range from ensuring good fish health and welfare, coordinating vaccinations and deliveries, and ensuring that employees have a safe and good workplace to come to.

She acquired all-round practice alongside her studies

Elise had intended to become a nurse, but a great interest in the sea and fisheries led to that the aquaculture industry instead gained a new and committed employee.

During her three-year course in aquaculture operations and management at Nord University in Bodø, north in Norway, she was heavily involved in student organisations.  She quickly realised that the network expands if you are a bit "on". She got work placement in various fish farming companies, and worked at MOWI, GIFAS, Nordic Halibut and Salmon Centre Gildeskål.

"I made practical experience a major priority during my studies, and this experience has been worth its weight in gold for my career"

Elise Olafsen

After completing her bachelor's degree, Elise applied for a master’s studies in Aquaculture at NMBU. The enterprising student combined her first year with a part-time position at Lerøy Sjøtroll. In addition, she worked as a show host at The Salmon, a display centre for Norwegian aquaculture at Tjuvholmen at Aker Brygge in Oslo.

AQUA student organisation ─ an inclusive student society

Her desire for organisational work also emerged at NMBU, where in 2021, together with a student friend, she started the AQUA student organisation. Today, it is an open organisation for students and others interested in the subject.

The organisation had great ambitions, and today has an established board and over 145 members.

Check out (in Norwegian) for information about activities and lots of fun.

"I know that the student community is important, and this is a great initiative to include everyone," says Elise.

Master's thesis about and at work at Blom Fiskeoppdrett

"I completed the final year of my master's degree at Blom Fiskeoppdrett AS while working as assistant production manager," says Elise.

She also wrote her master's thesis at Blom. It was about optimising Blom's production at a given fish location in the group.

Elise med hovedoppgaven i hånden utenfor Urbygningen på NMBU
Elise med hovedoppgaven i hånden utenfor Urbygningen på NMBU Photo: Tosca Koers

What about the student society at NMBU?

“I am very grateful for all the opportunities I have had during my studies, both in terms of experience and at the university. The support from teachers and student counsellors were great.”

The study society at NMBU is inclusive and diverse. There are many opportunities to participate in organisations, to be involved with students and for students.

Here you can just "hit the ground running" and get involved. Fill your days with great activities and social events at NMBU. There are also great leisure activities at NMBU, with the Student Welfare Organisation SiÅs in Ås.

A student with education and experience is worth its weight in gold to aqua companies

"We are allowed to have ambitions and goals and work towards them. Expand your network, be open to challenges. My best advice, especially in this industry, is to get a network. Start applying for summer jobs early to get relevant experience and practice".

Elise Olafsen

Elise emphasises that a student with good experience and education is valuable for the industry. It is valuable for your future employer that you have an understanding, practice and insight into what actually happens in the industry, whether it is in the value chain at the cage edge, service boat, administration, feeding, slaughterhouse or sales.

Best of luck to you!

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