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Oatridge Campus Award List Reflects Diversity of New Entrants to Agriculture

Published Wednesday, 23rd October 2013 in Study at SRUC news

Heather Stuart

A 20 year old student from the remote and beautiful Sutherland Flow Country, a retired rugby star and an aspiring new entrant were all amongst the award winners at the recent SRUC graduation ceremony.

The awards, which were held at the Oatridge Campus of Scotland's Rural College, celebrate the top students in each year group.

Heather Stuart, who lives on the family farm at Forsinard, completed the Higher National Diploma in Agriculture with Distinction and, at the Ceremony on Friday 18 October, was named Best Student in her year. She was also awarded the Snaigow Quaich, which goes to the student who has shown the highest level of academic and practical achievement and the greatest commitment to all aspects of campus life in the past year.

Heather was one of 25 SRUC students honoured for coming top of their year group. They received their prizes from Tom Kerr, the Provost of West Lothian, who served on the Board of Oatridge College before it became part of SRUC. It was the first graduation ceremony at the Oatridge Campus since the merger with Barony and Elmwood Colleges and SAC (Scottish Agricultural College).

The top student in the Higher National Certificate year group was former Scottish International rugby player Rob Dewey. The 30 year old retired from professional rugby at the end of last season, ending his career at Glasgow Warriors. He is now concentrating on breeding sheep, especially rare Hebrideans, at his family’s Lathockar Farm near St Andrews.

Winner of the top prize in the National Certificate class was Kaleem Shaikh, an 18 year old from Uddingston with no farming background. He has none-the-less, rented his own land to breed sheep and hens.

Addressing the audience of students, parents, friends and staff Professor Bob Webb, Principal and Chief Executive of the new organisation, told his audience that SRUC had not only become a major force in the provision of landbased education in the UK, but had already seen an increase in international engagement.

He said: “There has been a continued acceleration in the number of collaborations into more than 50 countries around the world, and an expansion of training partnerships within the EU and a surge in research awards to £16 million.”

More than 300 students received their end-of-course certificates from Professor David McKenzie, Vice Principal Education of SRUC. A wide number of subjects were recognised including Certificates in Agriculture, Animal Care, Landbased Engineering, Countryside Management, Equine Studies, Forgework, Horticulture and Landscaping.

For photos or more information contact Emilia Barrero at Oatridge on 01506 864800 (ext 180); Emilia.Barrero@sruc.ac.uk.

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