Shortlist unveiled for prestigious Lantra Learner of the Year awards

Jakob Eunson is one of the new industry champions

A group of 19 rural trainees and apprentices from across Scotland has been shortlisted for Lantra Scotland’s prestigious Learner of the Year awards.

The awards, which are now in their 15th year, set out to celebrate the achievements of trainees working in land-based, aquaculture and environmental industries.

The finalists include two aspiring gamekeepers – Alasdair Davidson from Fort William, who is who is doing a modern apprenticeship SVQ Level 2 in gamekeeping through North Highland College UHI and working as an apprentice gamekeeper at Conaglen Estate, and Fraser MacDonald from Newtonmore in Invernesshire who is also doing a game and wildlife modern apprenticeship through North Highland College while working as a trainee gamekeeper at Glenshero Estate.

Other shortlisted trainees include Matt Lingard from Inverlochy, Fort William, who is doing an SVQ Level 2 in trees and timber with Forestry Enterprise Scotland while working as a forest craftsperson.

Two aquaculture trainees are also in the running for awards – Jack Fraser from Carol, Fort William, who is doing a modern apprenticeship SVQ Level 2 and 3 in aquaculture through Inverness College UHI, while working as an assistant manager at Marine Harvest; and John Blance from Lerwick in Shetland who is doing a modern apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in aquaculture at NAFC Marine Centre while working as a fish technician at Grieg Seafood.

Another Shetland youngster up for an award is Jakob Eunson who is doing a modern apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in livestock production through Train Shetland, while working at Uradale Farm in Scalloway.

The finalists will find out if they have won their awards at a special awards ceremony and dinner in Dunblane on Thursday March 2.

The keynote speaker on the night is well-known farmer and TV present Adam Henson.

Lantra Scotland director, Kevin Patrick, said: “These awards continue to play an important role in communicating and celebrating the value of gaining qualifications, developing skills and improving standards. All of our nominees, whether selected as finalists or not, should be extremely proud of their achievements and we all look forward to celebrating their success.”