RINGLINK SCOTLAND, Tarff Agricultural Merchants and Borders Machinery Ring came together earlier this month to celebrate the achievements of 29 pre-apprentices who were graduating from the 2019 Land-based Pre-Apprenticeship pilot programme.

Sylvia Halkerston performed as Master of Ceremonies, in addition to speeches from NFUS Milk Committee vice-chair Gary Mitchell and Rural Youth project co-ordinator/agricultural communicator Alana Black, highlighting the importance of attracting young people into the industry.

Jane Duffy from Scottish Government presented the certificates to all trainees in attendance and Ringlink chairman, James Porter, delivered the Vote of Thanks.

The pilot programme has been a great success, with 19 trainees progressing on to do Modern Apprenticeships in Agriculture, whilst the remaining trainees have secured either full-time work with other employers in the sector or are going onto college in September. Applications are open now for the 2020 intake – although organisers await news from Scottish Government on the £150k funding required to allow the second year of pilot programme to continue.

The land-based pre-apprenticeship scheme, launched as an internship in 2013, offers youngsters a three-week training course at Scotland’s Rural College or Borders College followed by a six-month placement on a farm or rural business.