Equine student takes mane prize

SRUC students and apprentices celebrate winning top prizes at the ALBAS

An SRUC equine student won the coveted overall winner trophy at this year’s Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills (ALBAS), with the overall runner-up prize awarded to a Landscaping apprentice.

Aoife Cowburgh, who studied Horse Care at Oatridge and works as a Competition Groom for Rhymer’s Stables in the Scottish Borders, also won the Equine category and a CARAS award, which recognises distinguished achievement in agriculture and related land-based industries.

She said: “It’s an incredible honour - it doesn’t feel real. I would like to thank my bosses Geoff and Elspeth Adams for supporting me from the age of 14 and Fantasy, the horse I learned how to ride on, for putting up with a novice.”

Overall runner-up Ross Rutherford, who studied Landscaping at Oatridge and works as a Landscape Gardener for Noble Grounds Care Ltd, came top in the Horticulture category and won the Modern Apprentice award.

He said: “It is nice to feel recognised and I’m very grateful to receive the awards. It has been a great night spent with my family. Thanks to SRUC for the nomination and to my employer Alex.”

Aoife and Ross were among seven of the 11 SRUC students and apprentices selected as finalists who won their categories at the awards ceremony organised by Lantra Scotland and held at the Crieff Hydro Hotel, in Perthshire.

Agriculture student Jennifer Mitchell, who studies at SRUC Edinburgh and is a Trainee Consultant with SAC Consulting, won the Higher Education BSc Level and CARAS awards, and Katrina Coutts, who did an HND in Agriculture at Oatridge and is a Livestock Yardsman for Shetland Livestock Marketing Group, won the Higher Education HND Level and CARAS awards.

Reece Houston, who studied at Oatridge and is an apprentice for Philip Scott at Ravenhill in Dingwall, won the Land-based Engineering category, with the runner-up prize awarded to Spencer Johnson, an apprentice engineer at Braewick Agricultural Services in Eshaness, Shetland, who studied at both Oatridge and Shetland UHI.

The Environmental Conservation category was won by Oatridge’s Nathan Taylor, who works as a Countryside Management Apprentice at Stirling Council.

Katie Turner, who studied at Oatridge and works at the Tay Valley Veterinary and Equine Centre, won the Veterinary Nursing award with the runner-up prize going to fellow Oatridge student Elaine Sandhu, Student Veterinary Nurse at McKenzie Vets.

Another Oatridge finalist Colin MacDonald, an Apprentice Stockman at Bragleenmore Farm in Kilninver, Argyll, was runner-up in the Agriculture category and Elmwood apprentice Ryan Yuill, a Greenkeeper at North Berwick Golf Club, was runner-up in the Horticulture category.

Mary Thomson, Vice Principal – Skills and Lifelong Learning at SRUC, said: “I’d like to pass on my congratulations to all our nominees in the prestigious Lantra Scotland ALBAS. It was an honour to spend the evening celebrating success with SRUC's finalists, their friends, family and employers.

“I also want to thank the dedicated SRUC staff who provide the skills, experience and confidence students need to embark on a successful career. It is a privilege to work with such a brilliant team.”

For more information about apprenticeships at SRUC, visit: Study at SRUC | Apprenticeships

Posted by SRUC on 08/03/2024

Tags: Awards
Categories: SRUC and Campuses