We are very keen to develop skills for learning, life and work. As part of that we hope to introduce a ‘Past Pupils’ Board’ where we will interview former pupils about their work. The aim of this is to help pupils think about all the opportunities and work destinations in our local community and beyond!
Our first interviewee was Dr Beth Mouat. Thanks Beth for coming in and talking to our P5/6 class and being interviewed by our P7 Pupil Councillors.
Name: Dr Beth Mouat
Current Job Title: Head of Marine Science at the NAFC Marine Centre, Scalloway.
Our P7 Pupil councillors asked Dr Mouat some questions about her job.
- What is your job?
I am a marine biologist. I am the joint head of marine science at the NAFC Marine Centre in Scalloway.
- What did you want to do for a job when you were at primary school?
I was lucky; I knew what I wanted to do when I was in primary school.
- What helped you decide?
I enjoyed watching nature programmes and also growing up in Shetland surrounded by the sea and fishing gave me an interest. I knew I wanted to help and make a difference to the fishing industry. When I was at university I studied a wide range of subjects to begin with and then focussed on fisheries.
- What qualifications do you have?
I have a science degree (BSC) and a Masters degree in fisheries. I also have a PHD.
- Did you go to university? What was it like?
I really enjoyed university. I did my degree and masters in Aberdeen. To start with you study a broad range of subjects. Even though I was doing marine biology I got to study human anatomy and human physiology. We did things like dissecting frogs’ legs! From doing a wide range it gave me the opportunity to see what I was best at and enjoyed and choose from there. We got to go on field trips, one to an estuary near Aberdeen to look at creatures in the sand. We were taught to do things in a proper, scientific way. When I did my masters I got to work alongside scientists in a government lab in Aberdeen. I studied for my PHD in Glasgow and did a lot of practical work on fishing boats and government boats. I got to meet lots of different people.
- What are the best bits of your job?
I liked being on boats, although it takes me about 12 hours to get my sea legs! I don’t get to do that as much anymore. I enjoy learning new things and it is important to me to make a difference. By working with the inshore fisheries around Shetland I help to make sure the fisheries are sustainable and protect it for the future. I am lucky because I enjoy most parts of my job.
- Are there any parts you don’t like?
Working with fisheries can sometmes be a bit smelly, especially working with whelks! Now that I am in a management role I don’t get to do so much practical work anymore and have lots of admin to do.
- What skills do you think are important for us to be developing in school?
Ask questions! There is no such thing as a silly question. If you don’t get the answer – go and look in different places, like books and the internet. It is important to have an inquisitive mind!
- Is there any advice you would give a younger you?
Have the confidence to ask the questions or give your ideas! Never be scared to say what you think, you need to take a chance as you may be the person in the room with the best idea that no one else has thought of.
- What do you need to do to keep your job? Do you have to do extra training?
I have had to do lots of health and safety training. I think my degrees have given me the training I need to do my work but I do have to do some management training.
- Have you always had the same job or have you had lots of different jobs?
I have had different jobs when I was younger and at university. I worked in Mainlands Shop. I did work experience at the NAFC during my years as a student and got to work there in the holidays. This was great as it meant I got to know the people there and found out about upcoming opportunities. Work experience is really important as it gives you lots of skills to be able to show employers and also helps you figure out what you like and don’t like.
I worked for Scottish Natural Heritage before coming home to Shetland to work at the NAFC in 2005. I have had different roles there and have been doing my current job for 4 years. I have a job share which allows me to have a good balance for my work and family.