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Lantra Scotland Reveals Finalists For 17th Learner of the Year Awards

Thursday, 14 February 2019 Industry news

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A select group of the country’s top trainees have been named as finalists in Lantra Scotland’s much-anticipated Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards. The 24 talented apprentices and trainees who have made the shortlist will find out if they have won at a prestigious gala dinner and award ceremony on Thursday 7th March at the Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro.

Lantra Scotland is the sector skills council for land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries, and the awards play a vital role in promoting careers within the rural sector, celebrating the achievements of learners and highlighting the importance to employers of investing in skills.

MC and host for the evening will be well-known Perthshire farmer and stand-up comedian, Jim Smith.

Last year’s overall winner, Megan Rowland, will talk about the difference the award has made to her career and her role as one of Lantra’s industry champions.

The awards include categories for the agriculture, animal care, aquaculture, equine, horticulture, game and wildlife, trees and timber, land-based engineering and environmental conservation industries, as well as Higher Education, Rural Schools, Modern Apprentice of the Year and CARAS (Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies) Awards.

The CARAS Award was established by the UK’s four national agricultural societies, including the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). It aims to recognise, through an awards scheme, distinguished achievements in agriculture and related land-based industries. RHASS also supports an award for secondary schools.

The highlight of the evening will be the announcement of the Learner of the Year Overall Winner. This goes to an outstanding trainee who has demonstrated exceptional ability, hard work and a passion for their industry.

The Tam Tod Trophy will be awarded in association with Countryside Learning Scotland to an outstanding young learner. The trophy was created in memory of the late Tam Tod, described as a well-loved gamekeeper, ghillie and lifelong friend of the countryside.

Jean’s Jam Award will also be making a return. The award recognises an inspiring mentor, teacher or trainer and was donated by training instructor Elspeth Watson in memory of her friend, Jean Costello.

The finalists for the 2019 learner of the year awards were chosen by an independent judging panel made up of influential figures from across the land-based and aquaculture sector: Agriculture and rural affairs journalist Erika Hay, Keith Paterson of Forestry Commission Scotland, farmer Keith Redpath, former agricultural banker Jimmy McLean; Lisa Connell of The Scottish Salmon Company and Rebecca Dawes of Jane Craigie Marketing.

The finalists for the Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2019 are:

  • Aimee MacRae, aged 19, from Bothwell near Glasgow, has been doing a Level 4 Equido qualification with Ross Dhu Equestrian Ltd;
  • Amy Park, aged 19 from Hawick, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Mixed Farming with JA Park through Borders College;
  • Andrew Richardson, aged 25 from the Isle of Lewis, has been doing an Erasmus Mundus joint masters degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society through the Scottish Association for Marine Science;
  • Andy Oldham, aged 45 from Aberfeldy, has been doing an HNC in Game and Wildlife Management with North Highland College UHI while working at Meggerine Estate;
  • Billy Welsh, aged 24 from Stromness in Orkney, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture with Scottish Sea Farms through NAFC Marine Centre UHI;
  • Calum Melrose, aged 22 from Livingston, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Horticulture with West Lothian Council through SRUC;
  • Cameron MacLean, aged 19 from Islay, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Gamekeeping with Dunlossit Estate through North Highland College UHI;
  • Ceara-Marie Law, aged 26 from Manchester, has been doing an SVQ in Environmental Conservation with the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland;
  • Don Martin, aged 33 from Blairgowrie, has been working at GRN Tractors and doing an NC in Land-based Engineering with SRUC;
  • Erica Taylor, 20 from Kellas by Dundee, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture at JG Orr Ltd through SRUC;
  • Harry Hamlin-Wright, aged 29 from Perth, works for Dawnfresh Farming Ltd and did an MSc Aquatic Veterinary Studies with the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture;
  • Isla Campbell, aged 21 from Strathpeffer, has been doing a BSc in Forest Management with Arboriculture and Urban Forestry at the Scottish School of Forestry;
  • Jack Burton, aged 20 from Windygates in Fife, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Trees and Timber with the Falkland Stewardship Trust through SRUC;
  • Janis Brivkalns, aged 34 from Dunoon, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture with The Scottish Salmon Company through Inverness College UHI;
  • Kyle Baker, aged 19 from Glenrothes, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Trees and Timber with the Falkland Stewardship Trust through SRUC;
  • Lauren Attwood, aged 34 from Auchterarder, has been doing a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing with Struthers and Scott through SRUC;
  • Lauryn Penman, aged 18 from Lochgelly in Fife, has been doing an Advanced Certificate in Horse Care through SRUC;
  • Louise Main, aged 18 from Dumfries, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture at Crochmore Farm through SRUC;
  • Luke Taylor, aged 18 from Livingston, has been doing an SVQ in Environmental Conservation and Rural Skills with West Lothian Council Ranger Service through SRUC;
  • Ross Yuile, 24 from Glasgow, has been doing an NC in Horticulture with Glasgow Clyde College;
  • Stuart Hynds, aged 28 from Edinburgh, has been doing a Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing with Vets4Pets through SRUC;
  • Toni Lamont, aged 19 from Ardrossan in Ayrshire, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Rural Skills with the North Ayrshire Ranger Service through SRUC;
  • Tyler Tovey, aged 23 from East Calder, has been doing an SVQ in Horticulture with Jupiter Artland through SRUC;
  • William Muir, aged 18 from Stewarton in Ayrshire, has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Land-based Engineering with Kerr Farm Engineering through SRUC.

Liz Barron-Majerik, Director of Lantra Scotland commented:

“We’re delighted to announce the finalists for our 2019 Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards. As well as highlighting the achievements of new entrants to our sector, the awards play a key role in promoting the importance of gaining qualifications and developing skills, for both trainees and their employers. Everyone who was nominated, whether a finalist or not, should be extremely proud of this recognition, and we look forward to celebrating their success at our ceremony in the DoubleTree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro on Thursday 7th March.
We are very grateful to the independent panel of judges, to training providers and to the employers for contributions, and of course to all of our generous event sponsors.”

Erika Hay, chair of the independent judging panel, said:

“As in previous years, we’ve been very impressed with the quality of people nominated for Lantra’s awards, and it’s been a privilege to meet them. We know how much it means to finalists to get to this stage of the awards, as it’s a great boost for their self-confidence and demonstrates their potential to the rest of the sector.
There’s a real depth of talent and enthusiasm coming through across the country, and that can only be a good thing for Scotland’s rural economy.”

Since the awards were launched in 2004, there have been over 1000 nominees and 300 finalists.

Tickets for the evening are available from Lantra on 01738 310164 or scotland@lantra.co.uk. See www.lantra.co.uk/Scotland/tickets.

Lantra’s work in Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government.

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