Students from the Oatridge Campus of Scotland’s Rural College shared in an outstanding list of success at the prestigious Lantra, Scotland Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards.
In particular Finlay Ross of Bankfoot, Perth, who took two awards home. He was named Overall Winner and also won the Award for Agriculture, sponsored by NFU Scotland and David Houston of Glenkilrie Farm, Blairgowrie. SRUC’s West Lothian Campus was runner-up in the Rural Skills School Award, in partnership with Cardinal Newman High School.
Finlay (18) left school at the end of his fifth year to study for a certificate on Agriculture at SRUC’s Oatridge campus at Broxburn. He works part time on a local farm where he works with machinery and livestock. At Thursday evening’s Award Ceremony in Crieff Hydro Hotel he was delighted:
“I was so happy to win the award for agricultural learner of the year, especially as I’m not from a farming background. To also receive the overall winner was unbelievable. I developed a fascination for the machines I watched in the fields around my home, which soon turned into a passion for farming. The training has given me a good grounding, and I hopefully will stand me in good stead to become a farm manager, which is what I aspire to.”
Among other Oatridge winners were Scott Mason (Falkirk) who took the Environmental Conservation Learner of the Year award. He is following an SVQ Level 2 in Environmental Conservation. Jo Robertson (Edinburgh) following a National Certificate course in Equine Studies was runner up for Equine Learner of the Year, while Kevin Sutherland (Elgin) was also just pipped to the post in the Landbased Service Engineer category.
The Oatridge quartet were joined by colleagues from SRUC’s Campuses. From Barony, near Dumfries Eamon Monaghan (Penrith) was named Higher Education Learner of the year, just ahead of Rachel MacKeller from the Craibstone Campus in Aberdeen. Eamon also won the CARAS Award presented by the Council for the Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies. Another Barony student, Malcolm Paton from Golspie was runner up in the same competition. Adam Beynon-Jones, studying for an SVQ Level 2 in Fisheries Management, won the Fisheries Management Learner of the year.
Supporting the students at the ceremony was SRUC Head of Further Education, David James; He said:
I would like to congratulate all the prizewinners here this evening. It is great to be able to celebrate the achievements of these outstanding students who are very deserving of these important awards. It is vital for the future of these industries that we continue to encourage new entrants and demonstrate how employers can see bottom line benefits that highly skilled new entrants can bring to the business.”
The School Award, presented to Oatridge and Cardinal Newman Hugh School, is for a programme which offered pupils a series of practical lessons outside the classroom and opportunities to visit employers in the land-based industries. Through the project pupils developed transferable skills which will be of use throughout their lives.
Other awards were presented in areas such as fisheries management, equine, agriculture and horticulture and the standard of entries this year was particularly high. Head Judge Peter Alexander said:
“Lantra has been celebrating learners’ achievements in the land-based and environmental sector since 2003. These awards are vitally important in recognising the success of learners from across Scotland, and also act as a source of inspiration for those considering a career in this diverse and rewarding sector. I would like to congratulate all of the entrants on their hard work.”
Valerie Owen OBE, Lantra’s Chair, said: “I applaud all the finalists who show a real passion and dedication to training and the land-based industries. These awards attract the top learners from across Scotland every year who are committed to developing their skills and knowledge. It is vital for the future of these industries and for the wider Scottish economy that we continue to encourage and support new entrants.”
For pictures of the winners please contact Shona Warwick at the Barony Campus of Scotland’s Rural College Shona.Warwick@sruc.ac.uk or phone 01387 242919. For more information about the candidates from Oatridge please contact Emilia Barrero on 01506 864800 or Emilia.Barrero@sruc.ac.uk.