It was a case of mutual admiration when 17 year-old Brook Lines completed his two week unpaid internship at NZ King Salmon’s Takaka hatchery in April.
He so impressed hatchery manager Jon Bailey the company decided to employ the former Queen Charlotte College student for a further three weeks.
And Brook returns the compliment, saying he learned so much he’s determined to convince Mr Bailey to give him a job once he graduates in 2013.
Brook was the inaugural winner of his school’s Aquaculture Academy New Zealand King Salmon Scholarship.
The scholarship is worth $11,500 over two years and funds Brook’s tuition and course fees to complete a diploma in Aquaculture at Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology.
Mr Bailey says Brook brought a great attitude and a breath of youthful fresh air to the job.
“He was meant to be here only a couple of weeks but he so impressed us we put him on wages a further three weeks. After five weeks he was very much part of the team.”
Mr Bailey says Brook didn’t shy away from the mundane tasks such as cleaning out the ponds and feeding the fish but quickly progressed to some of the more complex aspects of raising young salmon.
“It’s a good time of year to learn the ropes and Brook certainly made a good fist of it graduating to fish grading, assessing brood stock fish and working in the ponds helping to load the trucks.
“He’s a bit of a super-star really – for a young lad he has a good head on his shoulders. In 10 years here at the hatchery I’ve ever only seen one other youngster with such great potential. He has certainly been a great choice for the scholarship,” Mr Bailey says.
Brook says the experience has confirmed his determination to make a career in aquaculture, preferably at NZ King Salmon.
“I learned a lot and loved every minute of it,” he says. “Everyone was great at explaining things each step of the way so I could very easily take in the key points and build my knowledge of the practical side of fish breeding and raising young salmon.
“I really want to work for King Salmon in Takaka but Mr Bailey has told me it’s a popular place and they don’t get many vacancies. Looks like I’m going to have to really impress them.”
The New Zealand King Salmon Scholarship is awarded to a year 12 or 13 Aquaculture Academy student at QCC selected by college staff and approved by principal Tom Parsons.
The recipient must be a student who has shown enthusiasm and diligence during the school year as well as attitude and commitment to a career in aquaculture or marine science.