The Scottish Government has awarded more than £100,000 to Ringlink Scotland for a pilot scheme to roll-out its pre-apprenticeship programme across the country.
The scheme was launched by the machinery ring in 2013 to attract new entrants to the farming and land-based industries.
It has evolved from an internship scheme to one which awards an accredited vocational qualification at SCQF level 4.
The scheme gives three weeks of practical training then a six-month placement on a farm or rural business with a mentor.
Announcing the funding at Ringlink’s Laurencekirk headquarters, Rural Affairs Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “We want to encourage more young people to consider work and careers in key rural sectors like farming, food production and land management.
“Equipping them with key skills and experience to help them stay and come to work in rural communities is massively important. Ensuring that we have a skilled, motivated and enthusiastic workforce in well-paid jobs will help sustain these key rural sectors too.
“Ringlink has already demonstrated how successful pre-apprenticeships can be and that is why I am delighted to confirm funding to enable roll-out of the initiative across Scotland.”
Ringlink managing director Graham Bruce said: “We are absolutely delighted and extremely grateful that the Scottish Government has recognised the need to invest in the future workforce of the rural industry by supporting this pilot pre-apprenticeship.
“The commitment will allow us, together with our partners, to deliver the programme across a significantly wider area to the benefit of the industry and the wider rural community.”
The funding will cover an initial cohort of 37 starts in 2019/20. It will be delivered by Ringlink, Skills Development Scotland, LANTRA, Tarff Valley, Borders, and Highland Machinery Rings.