DUNDEE AND Angus college students have received a £50k funding boost to help develop hi-tech rural careers.

The money – awarded by the Scottish Funding Council – will help to support new agri-tech and precision farming lessons on offer at the college.

The funding pot will also be used to purchase equipment from farming precision specialists SoilEssentials to help with training.

Agricultural Lecturer at Dundee and Angus College, Peter Beattie, commented: “It is important that we ensure these courses are not isolated from the ever-changing technology developed and deployed in the wider agricultural industry. We were therefore delighted to secure the Scottish Funding Council grant which, has not only allowed us to purchase bespoke precision tech, but will also support collaboration between the College and rural businesses such as SoilEssentials, for years to come.

“It will directly benefit students on our full-time Agri-Skills and Estate Courses, and also be utilised to provide a foundation course in modern farming for up to 20 local secondary schools students annually,” he continued. “The kit will give students valuable hands-on experience and real knowledge that they can utilise in their future careers.”

Commercialisation director with SoilEssentials, Robert Ramsay, added: “I believe it’s hugely important to ensure that the emerging farming workforce has exposure to this type of equipment early in their training and careers.

“It has also been a pleasure to work with the college; we discussed with them the wide range of precision guidance and steering solutions available, took on board their aims and objectives and then presented a bespoke solution, ” he explained.

“Keith Sinclair, one of our expert engineers has now visited The Glebe, which is the farm associated with the Arbroath college campus, to install Trimble equipment in three tractors. Products supplied and fitted included a Trimble EZ-Guide 250 guidance display and two Trimble GFX-750 guidance displays along with SoilEssentials very own EssentialsNet RTK correction signal.”

Mr Beattie concluded: “This equipment and the advice provided by SoilEssentials will ensure that students enter the workplace aware of the opportunities that technology brings to agriculture.”

Dundee and Angus College have limited places still available on their Agricultural Skills course for 2020/21 but there is still opportunity to apply for this and other land-based courses.

For information about the courses on offer visit: www.dundeeandangus.ac.uk