Land-based students make it to first stage of sector awardsStaff from Borders College’s Land-based department recently submitted nominations for the LANTRA Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2018, and were delighted to learn that two current and two former students have made it through to the next stage of the awards.Former students Reece McNaughton (Horticulture) and Jennifer Smith (Horse Care), and current Agriculture Modern Apprentices Robert Pickford and Kieran Paxton, have all been selected by a panel of judges to attend interviews.

These annual awards recognise the achievements of individuals, employers and training providers in land-based and aquaculture, as well as raising the profile of training and employment opportunities and highlighting the benefits to employers of a well-trained and highly skilled workforce.Agriculture Modern Apprentices Robert Pickford and Kieran Paxton were nominated by Programme Leader Andrew Johnson for the Agriculture Learner of the Year award.  Having both started out on the NC Agriculture programme in 2015, Robert and Kieran are commended by Andrew for their hard working, positive attitudes.Robert was awarded the ‘best practical student’ award during his time on the NC Agriculture programme, and Andrew adds that his attitude to farming is exactly the calibre of person needed for the future of the industry.

Meanwhile, Kieran was awarded the ‘best livestock student’ in his NC year, going on to adapt to life on a farm with ease, despite not originally coming from a farming background.  Both are currently employed as part of their apprenticeships – Robert at Caverton Mill Farm, Kieran at Graden Farm (both near Kelso) – and continue to work hard to progress within the industry.

Reece McNaughton, nominated for the Horticulture Learner of the Year Award, also collected several College awards throughout his time as a student, most recently the Enterprise Award at the 2016 Graduation.  His hard work and genuine enthusiasm for horticulture made a real impression on Lecturer Nigel Gibb, prompting him to nominate Reece for the award.  Whilst still at College, Reece carried out seasonal work in the 26 acre Mertoun Estate Gardens, and now works full-time with BMB Garden and Property Maintenance (Duns).

And finally, Jennifer Smith was nominated by Lecturer Alison Robertson for the Equine Learner of the Year Award.  Now employed as a Groom at Kirklands (Ancrum), Jennifer successfully completed levels 1, 2 and 3 Horse Care at Borders College, having started with a limited knowledge of the industry.  Her enthusiasm and willingness to improve her skills and knowledge saw her undertake a month’s work placement in Portugal through the Erasmus+ programme, and she went on to be named ‘best level 3 student’ in her final year at College.

The student nominee interviews are set to take place at LANTRA’s Perth office in January – Borders College wishes the shortlisted students the very best of luck, and looks forward to hearing how their interviews go.To find out more about the LANTRA Awards 2018 click here

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