0.00.00 My name’s Neil L. I am a fish farmer at the Environment Agency’s Calvert and fish farm. Basically we produce and rear course fish for the Environment Agency for restockings around the country. We do Chubb, Barbell, Roach, Bream, Tench, Rudd, Crucian Carp, Grayling. Mainly what anglers like to catch. They drill it in, you know, they’re good fish.
0.00.30 I’ve been working here for over 13 years. I came here on a work placement from Sparsholt College. I’ve always been an angler and it was just something different and outdoor work’s what I really wanted to do. I did enjoy school. I didn’t think I was very good at school, I just knew that I wanted to do something in farming, something outside. I loved fishing. I was always out fishing. As soon as I finished school I was going fishing, so working with fish was the ideal job.
0.01.00 I finished my GCSE’s not ever so good with my GCSE’s and I just wanted to get out there. I didn’t really want to go to college to begin with. I did speak to a careers officer at school and they were telling me about farming. I didn’t know about fish farming until I actually got in touch with some colleges and then I learnt a little bit more about fish farming. And then decided that I’d have a go at that.
0.01.30 I think the first thing I enjoyed about fishing was being outside with my dad and just being out with, in the wild with my dad fishing was great. And then it was the excitement of the catch, not knowing what we were going to catch and just being able to get away from everything and be out there. My mum pushed me to do what she thought I was good at.
0.02.00 She really wanted me to do well as a lot of people around me, where I lived, weren’t doing very well, so she pushed me in the right direction definitely. I worked as, on a YTS scheme at a local fishery and then I went to Sparsholt College and done a first diploma in fisheries studies where you went on two work placements. One was up in Scotland on a salmon farm and the second one I came here and then they took me on.
0.02.30 And I haven’t looked back. And I had a decision to make, then was I going to go back to college and further education or do I stick here, stay safe with what I’ve got. And I think I made the right move. I’ve learned a hell of a lot off of Alan. Alan Henshaw, my team leader. He’s looked after me really well. I’ve learned a hell of a lot off of him. He’s, well he’s been here over 20 years and he’s got a lot of experience and he’s probably the best at what he does in the country. We all get on really well.
0.03.00 I play darts in a local pub with two of the lads that work here, so we do get on really well. It’s a good, good close knit team. Outside of work I’m busy with a young family. Busy with my kids, swimming and things like that I do. I don’t go fishing anymore. This is my fishing. I’ll still be here in five years time, I’m sure. We’ll be doing, hopefully, be doing a few more species at the farm. Dream job. I think this is my dream job really.
0.03.30 Yeah. This is as good as it gets. Hopefully I’ll be working here till I retire. It’s brilliant. It’s just as good today as it was when I first came here.