International Women’s Day (IWD) is celebrated each year on the 8th of March to champion women and act as a call to action for equality. 

Young’s Seafood was founded in 1805 by a woman named Elizabeth Young, who sold shrimp from her hat along the banks of the river Thames. Over the years the business has evolved into the Young’s we know and love today. 

To celebrate IWD and Elizabeth Young’s legacy, we caught up with some of our inspiring employees and asked them about their experiences in the seafood sector, including their biggest career highlights and advice to those thinking about joining, or already in the seafood industry. Here’s what they had to say…

Alison Hargreaves, Product Development Manager, Livingston

Alison’s role as Product Development Manager means she’s responsible for the creation and management of delicious new products at our Livingston site. Last Christmas, Alison had her biggest career highlight to date, seeing the Waitrose Shimmering Salmon Mousse, a product she worked on, on the Waitrose Christmas TV advert. 

What attracted you to a career in seafood? 

“I always knew I wanted to work with food, but I also knew becoming a chef wasn’t the right career path for me. Then, my home economics teacher at school introduced me to the world of product development! I studied Food Product Design with Management at Glasgow Caledonian University, it was a fabulous course where we did everything from developing our own new products, to advanced food prep classes, HAACP and quality control. It gave me a great start for a career in NPD. 

“Growing up in Orkney, I’ve always had an affinity with seafood. I’ve naturally always loved creating recipes with fish, so when I got the opportunity to work at Young’s I jumped at the chance!” 

What’s your advice to other women wanting to get into the industry? 

“Go for it!  The food industry is great to work in. If you are a foodie like me, then NPD is an obvious choice but there are a large number of roles available in the food industry; Technical, Quality, Finance, Engineering, HR, Training, Planning, Logistics and Procurement are just a few. We’ve all got to eat, so there’s a great stability in the food industry and plenty of room for professional growth.” 

Teresa Tuplin, Meals Manufacturing Manager, South Quay

Teresa has been with Young’s for over thirty years and is currently the Meals Manufacturing Manager at South Quay. Her role is a collaborative one, which sees her bringing all departments from across the business together to create the best possible products for our consumers. 

Tell us a bit about your career journey? 

“I came to what was originally Bluecrest straight from college for a summer job and it was there the story began. I started with packing and other production-based roles, but I’ve worn many different hats over the years. I moved away from production into office-based roles like a material control, then into planning and customer service roles after that. In later years I took the position as supply chain manager in one of our factories which I thoroughly enjoyed. I then ended up in a temporary production manager role, which was when I knew my passion is on the factory floor working with people and products. Young’s has been such a big part of my life across the years both professionally and personally – I met my husband of 30 years here!” 

Any advice for other women looking to join the industry? 

“My advice? Always be authentic and respectful. Build up your confidence and do everything you can to develop and hone new skills, it may take you out of your comfort zone, but it’s so rewarding in the long run.” 

Rachel Kinsella MacGregor, HR Manager, Fraserburgh site

Seven months ago, Rachel Kinsella MacGregor left her job of 25-years to join the Sofina family, the parent company of Young’s Seafood. Rachel was attracted to the business by Sofina’s vision to be the most successful food company in the world and had always been interested in food manufacturing. 

What’s your biggest career highlight? 

“My career highlight has to be joining Young’s and the Sofina family after doing a job I knew and loved for so long. It was terrifying to begin with but in the last seven months I’ve joined a new company, setup a new HR and learning and development team and I’m continuing to grow in my career developing my leadership skills. 

“Outside of Young’s another highlight was back in 2019 when I was a guest speaker at an International Women’s Day event and shared my experiences on having a ‘big job’ on part time hours.  I also shared about the work life balance of having three children whilst building a career, as well as all the hard bits nobody sees going on behind the scenes to let people know that whilst it can at times be challenging, it is also incredibly rewarding.”

Do you have any advice to inspire others embarking on a career in the seafood industry? 

“Never doubt what you can do! Seize opportunities, don’t be afraid to learn, network and always advocate for yourself. Back in 2013 when I returned from maternity leave, I returned to my role as HR Business Partner but on part time hours, still leading a large store. I am so glad to have advocated for myself then, and now have the chance advocate for others now.”