Four Borders trainees and a Berwickshire school have been shortlisted for Lantra Scotland’s Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2015.
Those shortlisted are trainees Ryan Paxton, Kyle Bell, Chelsea Scobbie and Natalie Crombie as well as Eyemouth High School.
Hosted by Jim McLaren and celebrity chef Nick Nairn, the awards celebrate the achievements of trainees within Scotland’s rural industries and are organised by Lantra Scotland, the sector skills council for the land-based, aquaculture and environmental industries.
Ryan Paxton, aged 20 from Selkirk, has been short-listed for the Agriculture Learner of the Year Award. Ryan has just completed his Modern Apprenticeship Level 3 in mixed farming at Buccleuch Estates and Borders College.
Kyle Bell, a 15-year-old from Hawick, has been short-listed for the School Pupil Award. Kyle is currently doing a Rural Skills for Work course at Borders College. Chelsea Scobbie, aged 19 from Duns, and Natalie Crombie, aged 18 from Tweedbank, Galashiels, have both been short-listed for the Equine Learner of the Year Award 2015. Chelsea has recently completed her Modern Apprenticeship Level 3 in Horse Care at Borders College and Stable Life, and Natalie has completed her Modern Apprenticeship Level 3 in Horse Care also at Border College, while working at the Ian Stark Equestrian Centre.
Finally, Eyemouth High School is one of the secondary schools finalists for Lantra Scotland’s Urban School Award.
The winner will be announced at an award ceremony and gala dinner on the evening of Thursday, March 5, at the Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro, with the main sponsor being The Scottish Salmon Company.
This year there are 15 award categories - the highest number since the awards began in 2003 – including the prestigious CARAS Awards, the Overall-Winner Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Award and the Modern Apprentice of the Year Award. There are also eight industry awards covering key sectors, from agriculture, aquaculture and equine, to horticulture, game and wildlife, trees and timber, land-based engineering, fisheries management and environmental conservation. The highly successful Urban and Rural Schools Award also make a return having made their debut in 2014, as well as the Higher Education Award and School Pupil Award.
Nick Nairn said: “I’m delighted to be giving out the awards at the Lantra event in this Year of Food and Drink. Celebrating the achievements of learners is key in any industry.
“Good training is crucial to developing a well-run agricultural and food and drink sector across the country. And here in Scotland we have so much to be proud of right across the industry, from farmers to restaurant owners, and land managers to fishmongers.
“I’m particularly delighted to see that secondary schools and higher education students are being recognised in these awards. I’ve long been a campaigner for better food education in schools, and this is part of that. Learning to grow food and look after land well and responsibly is an essential factor in making Scotland a great food and drink nation.”
Kevin Patrick, interim director of Lantra Scotland added: “We are delighted to announce our finalists for the Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2015 and are extremely grateful to the independent panel of judges for all their hard work.
“These awards continue to play an important role in communicating and celebrating the value of gaining qualifications, developing skills and improving standards. This year the standard of award entrants was exceptionally high, which is making the process of choosing our finalists an increasing challenge for the judges
“We are also receiving nominations from a growing pool of employers and training providers, which suggests an increasing realisation of the importance of supporting and celebrating our future generation of talent. All of the nominees, whether selected as finalists in 2015 or not, should be extremely proud of their work and I really look forward to celebrating their achievements in Dunblane on March 5.”
Tickets for the awards and gala dinner are currently on sale and those interested in attending are encouraged to book early to guarantee places. To find out more call 01738 646762.