Tree and Timber Students Awarded by Lantra
Andrew Sloss, a Modern Apprentice in Trees and Timber, was recognised as ‘Trees and Timber Learner of the Year’, at the ninth annual Lantra Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards ceremony. The Trees and Timber award was sponsored by Forestry Commission Scotland.
Andrew said: “The Modern Apprenticeship scheme has provided me with a wide variety of skills and certifications in order to support my role. Many of these are technical skills such as chainsaws, chippers and clearing saws, which allow me to deal with wind-blow and path maintenance, keeping recreational sites open and safe.
“My time as an Apprentice has also allowed me the opportunity to mature personally, recognising the value of a profession in forestry for its job satisfaction and career prospects.”
Roland McMeeken was named as the ‘Trees and Timber Runner-Up of the Year’ award. Roland, a Modern Apprentice said: “Training has allowed me to work more efficiently and safely within the industry and has raised my standard of work. I look forward to achieving future goals and expanding my knowledge of the industry while furthering my career in the Forestry Commission.”
A total of 22 prizes were presented during the awards ceremony which was organised by Lantra, the Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries. The awards are designed to inspire new entrants to take up a career in the land-based sector and make employers aware of the benefits of a well trained workforce.
Minister for Youth Employment, Angela Constance, attended the awards ceremony to congratulate the finalists and stress the importance of skills and training. She said: “Often in a time of economic uncertainty it is staff training and skills development that can suffer first and foremost, however successful businesses will recognise it is during such times when investing in skills can carry even more importance and significance. Faced with an ever increasing competitiveness on a global scale, it is imperative that our workforce is provided with every tool at their disposal to give Scotland the edge that it needs to continue to prosper.
“That’s why nights like this are so important. Occasions like this do more than highlight the talent, commitment and skills of well deserving individuals. They bring into focus the opportunities provided by the land-based and aquaculture sector and demonstrate to employers the benefits of a skilled workforce.”
Valerie Owen OBE, Lantra’s Chair, said: “There has never been a more important time to be involved with land-based industries as problems such as food security are facing the world everyday. I applaud all of the finalists who show a real passion and dedication to training and the land-based industries.
“The Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year 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 and benefits that they can bring to the business.”
Some 125 guests attended this highly prestigious event, held at Crieff Hydro Hotel, including learners, employers, farmers, crofters, land managers, training providers and key stakeholders. The judging panel included Peter Alexander, Algo Blairgowrie Ltd; Russell Taylor, Taypack Potatoes Ltd; Keith Paterson, Forestry Commission Scotland; Erika Hay, Journalist/Consultant; and Ray Jones, Scotland Food and Drink.
Skills Development Scotland, the Scottish Government and Scottish Natural Heritage were the main sponsors of the event.
Lantra Press Office
Tel: 02476 858 418 or email
Full list of winners:
• Overall Winner Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year: Daryl Russell
• Overall Runner-Up Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year: Emily Smith
• Agriculture Learner of the Year: Michael Binnie
• Agriculture Learner of the Year Runner-Up: Ben Radley
• Equine Learner of the Year: Emily Smith
• Equine Learner of the Year Runner-Up: Rachel Rosscraig
• Fisheries Management Learner of the Year: Max McKinstrie
• Game and Wildlife Learner of the Year: Grant Symmers
• Game and Wildlife Learner of the Year Runner-Up: Craig MacNicol
• Horticulture Learner of the Year: Daryl Russell
• Horticulture Learner of the Year Runner-Up: Carly McNeil
• Higher Education Learner of the Year: David Smith
• Higher Education Learner of the Year Runner-Up: Mark Hume
• Land-based Service Engineering Learner of the Year: Grant Arbuckle
• Land-based Service Engineering Learner of the Year Runner-Up: Rhys Murdoch
• Land-based Curriculum for Schools Learner of the Year: Alexander Pirie
• Land-based Curriculum for Schools Learner of the Year Runner-Up: Josh Halley
• Modern Apprentice of the Year: Michael Binnie
• Trees and Timber Learner of the Year: Andrew Sloss
• Trees and Timber Learner of the Year Runner-Up: Roland McMeeken
• CARAS Scotland Award: Alexander Pirie
• CARAS Scotland Award Runner-Up: Josh Halley
The awards are generously supported by:
• Barony College
• David Houston
• Easterton Stables
• Elmwood College
• Forestry Commission Scotland
• Mackies at Taypack
• George Linton
• Lorna Davies - flowers
• National Farmers Union Scotland
• North Highland College
• Oatridge College
• P1 Solutions and associated companies Ltd
• Scottish National Equestrian Centre
• Scottish Agricultural College
• Sandy Thomson
• Skills Development Scotland
• Scottish Natural Heritage
• Scottish Qualifications Authority
• West Highland Hunting
About the Land-based and Aquacultural Learner of the Year Awards
The aim of the awards is to:
• Ensure the sector has a supply of highly skilled people to fill the skills shortages. Employers in Scotland report 83% of vacancies are hard fill in the sector, due to skills shortages. Jobs in the sector are now highly technical and we need to ensure workers have a high level of technical skills to carry out these jobs
• Demonstrate that the land-based industries can provide progressive career opportunities and encourage new entrants into the sector, as with an ageing workforce, it is estimated that the land-based and aquaculture sector needs to fill 10,000 jobs over the next ten years
• Recognise exceptional candidates from all regions of Scotland and the achievement of land-based and aquaculture learners
• Raise awareness of the benefits of investing in a highly skilled workforce including increased productivity.
• Lantra is the Sector Skills Council for land-based and environmental industries, working to ensure these businesses access the training, qualifications, skills and knowledge they need.
• Lantra in Scotland represents the interests of approximately 24,500 businesses (13% of all businesses), which employ 115,700 individuals (representing 2% of all employment across the workforce) and 40,000 volunteers.
• Lantra represents 17 industries: agricultural livestock and crops; animal care; animal technology; aquaculture; environmental conservation; equine; farriery; fencing; fisheries management; floristry; game and wildlife management; land-based engineering; horticulture, landscaping and sports turf; production horticulture; trees and timber and veterinary activities.
• By working together with the sector, Lantra leads research on skills issues and business needs, sets national standards and develops qualifications to meet modern business needs and help businesses grow through skills.
• For more information see www.lantra.co.uk