There is a lot of thought and processes that happen before a fish produced via aquaculture can reach our table. Sometimes fish farms can take up to 5 years in the building process before they can bring their first fish in. And even though as a recruiter I knew this, I never made it conscious. Recently I had the opportunity to speak with Inger Sandvik for our TalentView. She is 27 years old, from Stord, Norway. Inger graduated from Høgskolen i Oslo og Akershus (HiOA; Oslo and Akershus University College) as an Engineer. She has been involved in the industry for a little over 3 years now. And this is her story.
Why Engineering and Why Aquaculture?
In the world, we have a gross figure of 13% women engineers. And with exceptions in some countries women represent about 30% of the world Aquaculture population. However, we have been able to see these numbers grow year after year. And it was only natural for me to be curious about Inger becoming an engineer. Inger Sandvik says the reason she chose Engineering was “I really wanted to be a part of building things. I knew I was not meant for something related to health or teaching. I wanted to create something. In Norway, we have subjects related to arts and crafts. And I always preferred those over mathematics and all the other things. When I was in High School I wanted to study Architecture. But I got in engineering, with specialization in technical planning, and that is the direction into creation and building I took”.
As per why Aquaculture she shared a story that made us crack a laugh! “When I finished university I moved back from Oslo to Stord. I applied to Multiconsult. The one who became my boss in that company was the one that called me. He asked me if I knew anything about fish. To which I responded well I know how to fry fish. Perfect you are hired. They had an opening in the Akva section and needed someone to draw pipes. Which was one of my favorite things to do ever since school. Even though I didn’t know anything about aquaculture and fish at that time. I was still given the chance to join them and become familiar with all of this”.
What have you Liked so far?
Finding a passion is something we must always appreciate. For Inger Sandvik, her passion is in pipe designing and 3D modeling. And this is the area she has been focused on since she joined the aquaculture industry. “I like how everything works. I get the opportunity to just sit, draw, and model. Plus I have learned a lot about Aquaculture. The facilities are really clean, well organized, well constructed, and with good technology”.
She never thought she would work in Aquaculture, but now that she has, she doesn’t see herself doing anything different at the moment. Inger feels that by being in Aquaculture she is a part of something bigger. She enjoys being a part of bringing fish to people’s tables. “Back in School I enjoyed drawing buildings and things like that. But I don’t find them as interesting as what I am doing in the Aquaculture Industry”.
Alde Akva and Inger Sandvik
Inger worked at Multiconsult for 3 years and a half and she enjoyed the experience and learning opportunities. But then got in contact with her former colleagues, they started Alde Akva and she asked if they had any hiring plans. Alde Akva is a consulting firm that provides various services within the Aquaculture industry. These services include 3D visualizations and modeling, Preliminary projects, Production plans, Cost Estimates, RAS Consulting, and Operational optimizations.
“It’s like being a part of designing an aquarium but at a bigger scale. You put fish in and control the environment. In this control, you take care of the temperature, water quality, water speed, food, lighting. Therefore, you have very good control over everything. That is awesome”.
What Would You Recommend to Your Younger Self?
“I would tell her to be open to things. I had no idea what Aquaculture was. But when I got the opportunity at Multiconsult I gave it a chance. And I am very happy I did. This has been a very pleasantly surprising experience. I would tell her to always accept new challenges and not be afraid of new things”.
Challenges in the Industry
For Inger, the biggest challenge is that anything can go and will go wrong in the blink of an eye. And that you have to think fast and find a quick solution to whatever issue or problem you are facing. “Mistakes happen, accidents happen, they are not supposed to happen. So when planning a fish farm you have to keep every possible disaster scenario in your head and plan accordingly”.
“In addition, I believe the industry should always be planned as a way to increase fish welfare. It is not good for the industry to have fish with bad health. Hence, there are many things you need to control and that need to be done correctly”.