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Four Oatridge Students in Line for Top Training Award – Success for New Entrants to Scotland’s Land-based Industries

Published Monday, 20th January 2014 in Study at SRUC news

Four young men from Doune, Uddingston, Uphall and Glenrothes are through to the final of a prestigious competition for those studying for a career in agriculture and other land-based subjects.

The four students, studying at the Oatridge campus of Scotland’s Rural College, are due to attend the annual awards ceremony of the Lantra Scotland, Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards in the Hilton Dunblane Hydro hotel on Thursday 6 March.

Lantra is the skills council for the land-based and environmental industries. It works to ensure those employed in rural businesses have access to the training, qualifications and skills they need for the future. The Lantra awards recognise excellence and commitment.

Cameron Smith is 18 and from Doune in Perthshire. He is currently studying a Modern Apprenticeship, Agriculture Level 2 at Oatridge, while working for farmers Jimmy and Alan Turnbull. Students following a Modern Apprenticeship can gain a qualification while working. Cameron did not have an agricultural background but to reach the final stage of the Agriculture Learner of the Year category he had to impress the judges in an interview.

On awards night Cameron will be head to head with a fellow SRUC Oatridge student, 19 year old Kaleem Shaikh from suburban Uddingston. Kaleem, who recently won an SRUC prize as the best student on National Certificate Agriculture course at the Oatridge campus near Broxburn in West Lothian, is another new entrant to farming. He is currently studying for a Higher National Certificate and already rents his own small unit where he breeds pedigree sheep and goats and keeps hens.

Douglas Dowling is aged 19 and from Uphall, W Lothian. He is another SRUC Oatridge student following a Modern Apprenticeship, studying for a Level 3 in Parks, Garden and Green Spaces. His employers, West Lothian Council, nominated him for the Horticulture Learner of the year Award. Prior to starting his apprenticeship Douglas studied for a National Certificate in Horticulture and Landscaping at Oatridge.

The final member of the four is another 18 year old, Bryan Gove from Glenrothes. He works for Netherton Tractors and is hoping to win the Land-based Service Engineer Learner of the Year Award. He completed Modern Apprenticeship Level 2 – Land-based Service operations (Agriculture) course and now has progressed to Level 3. Bryan reckons he could have engine oil in his blood, having started while at primary school helping his mechanic father service cars.

The four students will be joined at the gala event by two others from another campus within Scotland’s Rural College, this time Barony near Dumfries. One is following a higher education course in agricultural engineering, the other an course in equine studies.

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