Lantra Scotland Reveals Finalists for Prestigious Learner of the Year Awards 2016

Lantra Scotland Reveals Finalists for Prestigious Learner of the Year Awards 2016

Lantra Scotland reveals finalists for prestigious Learner of the Year Awards 2016

Rising stars in the aquaculture industry Hayley Eccles, Lisa Askham, Marcos Garcia, Martin Mladenov and Matthew Anderson have been short-listed for Lantra Scotland’s prestigious Learner of the Year Awards 2016. These much-coveted accolades will be presented to the winners at the Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards ceremony, on Thursday 3rd March 2016 at the Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro Hotel.

Hayley, aged 31 from Strathcarron in the Highlands, has recently finished a Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in Aquaculture at Scottish Sea Farms and Inverness College UHI. She is working as a Freshwater Technician at the Couldoran Hatchery in Kishorn. Hayley’s devotion to animal welfare is one of her key attributes, which is vital for someone working in a salmon hatchery.

Lisa, aged 24 from Lochcarron, has completed her Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 2 in Aquaculture at Inverness College UHI while working as a Freshwater Operative at Russelburn Hatchery, Kishorn, owned by The Scottish Salmon Company. Lisa is a fast learner and understands the importance of fish health, fish husbandry, and the importance of a stable environment to maximise production and ensure the fish are stress free and healthy.

23-year-old Marcos, originally from Portugal now living in Newtonstewart in County Tyrone, studied Zoology at Cardiff University, before completing an MSc in Sustainable Aquaculture at Stirling University. He then went on to join the Dawnfresh Graduate Programme where he now works as an Assistant Farm Manager. This enabled him to gain hands-on experience within a successful, growing aquaculture business. In September 2015, Marcos’ site won the Dawnfresh Team of the Month award. His ambition is to become a Farm Manager one day.

29-year-old Martin has completed his Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in Aquaculture at Scottish Sea Farms (SSF) and NAFC Marine Centre, part of the University of Highlands and Islands. Martin is working at a Husbandryman for SSF, which involves feeding and monitoring salmon, observing behaviour, taking weekly samples and making sure they remain healthy. His ambition is to become site manager one day.

23-year-old Matthew from Oban did a BA (Hons) Degree in Aquaculture and is now working as an Assistant Farm Manager for Dawnfresh Farming Ltd. Matthew is looking to develop his technical and managerial skills with a view to stepping up into a farm manager’s role. He also has plans to attend the other leadership programmes.

Organised by Lantra Scotland, the sector skills council for the land-based, aquaculture and environmental industries, the Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards recognise and reward Scotland’s most talented trainees from across Scotland’s rural sector, as well as helping encourage employers to invest in skills for the future.

There are a total of 15 categories, including the prestigious CARAS Awards, Modern Apprentice of the Year, Urban and Rural Schools, Higher Education and School Pupil. There are also eight industry accolades covering agriculture, aquaculture, equine, horticulture, game and wildlife, trees and timber, land-based engineering, fisheries management and environmental conservation industries.

The highlight of the ceremony will be the announcement of the Overall Winner and Runner-up for Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year. This award recognises the person who has demonstrated an extraordinary willingness to learn and dedication to their chosen profession. Last year’s winner was Callum Low, a talented young Game & Wildlife trainee from Arbroath.

The Modern Apprentice of the Year and the winners of the prestigious CARAS (Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies) awards will be announced on the night. CARAS was established by the UK’s four national agricultural societies, including the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland. The objective is to recognise, through an awards scheme, distinguished achievements in agriculture and related land-based industries.

Jean’s Jam Award, donated by training instructor Elspeth Watson in memory of her friend, Jean Costello, will also be featured, recognising an inspiring mentor, teacher or trainer.

This year’s judging panel of influential figures from across the land-based and aquaculture sectors consists of Ray Jones, former Chairman of Scotland Food & Drink, agriculture and rural affairs journalist Erika Hay, Keith Paterson of Forestry Commission Scotland, farmer Keith Redpath, Lisa Connell of The Scottish Salmon Company and Rebecca Dawes of the Scottish Association of Young Farmers Clubs.

Kevin Patrick, Director of Lantra Scotland comments:

We are delighted to announce our finalists for the Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2016 and are extremely grateful to the independent panel of judges for all their hard work. These awards continue to play an important role in communicating and celebrating the value of gaining qualifications, developing skills and improving standards. We have also received nominations from more employers and training providers this year, which suggests they are increasingly aware how important it is to support and celebrate new talent. All of our nominees, whether selected as finalists or not, should be extremely proud of their work and I really look forward to celebrating their achievements in Dunblane on Thursday 3rd March”.

Ray Jones, Chairman Scotland chair of the judges, comments:

’Every year the judges are inspired by the enthusiasm, vitality and determination to succeed from our candidates. These young people are going into tough employment markets and a shortlisting on the Lantra land-based and Aquaculture learner of the year awards assists that future foothold into a long term job’.

Tickets for the evening are available from Lantra on 01738 646762 or . Opportunities are still available for companies or organisations interested in supporting Lantra’s awards. Lantra Scotland is at and on Twitter and Facebook as @LantraScotland.


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