PERTHSHIRE YOUNG Farmer Duncan McDiarmid has been announced as the winner of British Wool’s new training and development programme.

The 17-year-old, a member of Aberfeldy Young Farmers, lives on the family farm on the banks of Loch Tay and is keen to help with the family shearing effort, once he has gained the skills required to help out.

The new British Wool training competition was launched earlier this year to offer one winner from each UK nation the opportunity of winning 12 months of training as well as a Lister Shearing prize package worth £500. The training will include a British Wool machine shearing course, followed by a gear course, a wool handling course and completing the programme with a second machine shearing course.

Duncan will be able to learn from experienced British Wool shearing instructors and depending on availability and shearing ability, the opportunity to gain on farm experience working with a shearing contractor.

During the 12 month programme, the four UK winners will also visit British Wool’s head office and wool grading depot in Yorkshire, as well as a scouring plant, to follow the wool supply chain process.

“I am delighted and feel very proud to be given this opportunity by British Wool," said Duncan. "It has always been important to me to go on a British Wool shearing course to be trained by a professional as we shear all of our own sheep here on the family farm.

“During the shearing season last year, I started learning with hand shears under the instruction of my Dad and then moved onto machine shearing. The training programme will really help me to improve my skills and give me good foundations for the future of my shearing career," he continued.

“I am looking forward to learning more about the presentation of wool through the wool handling course and following the wool supply chain to find out more about the work involved behind the end uses for British wool.”

Shearing Manager for British Wool, Richard Schofield, added: “On behalf of British Wool I congratulate Duncan on his achievement in winning this competition in Scotland. The standard of entries were extremely high and it was clear to see Duncan’s passion for shearing and in wanting to further develop his existing knowledge and skills.”

Duncan concluded: “I would like to thank British Wool, Lister Shearing and the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs for presenting this fantastic opportunity to provide me with skills essential for sheep animal welfare.”