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Trainees shortlisted for Lantra Learner of the Year Awards

25 Jan 2018 | BALI Member News

BALI Training Provider member Lantra, horticulture finalists Reece McNaughton and Jennifer Wright have been shortlisted for Lantra Scotland’s Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards, which take place at the Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro Hotel on Thursday 1st March 2018.

Reece, aged 18 and from Kelso, has been doing an SVQ Level 3 in Amenity Horticulture through Borders College while working for Mertoun Estate Gardens. He has always had a passion for learning about horticulture and received the ‘Best Overall Schools Plus Student Award’ in 2014 as well as completing the Rural Skills Award in Horticulture. Reece joined Borders College full-time to complete an SVQ Level 1 and 2 in Horticulture before going on to do an SVQ Level 3 in Parks, Garden and Green Spaces.

Reece said: “I was surprised that my tutor nominated me for this award, but also delighted that he thought my achievements were worthy of it. To then go on and be shortlisted for the finals is a great feeling too. I’m genuinely enthusiastic and passionate about working and studying in horticulture and could not imagine doing anything else for a career.”

Jennifer, aged 22 and from Dunfermline, has just completed a Modern Apprenticeship in Parks, Gardens and Green Spaces with SRUC while working for the Royal Botanic Gardens in Edinburgh. While at the Botanics, she regularly volunteered at a number of National Trust for Scotland sites, including the gardens at Culross Palace and Edinburgh Zoo. She is currently training with the Professional Garden Guild Traineeship (PGGT). As part of her PGGT course, Jennifer will get the choice to work at three of the UK’s most prestigious gardens, which may include Buckingham Palace, Chatsworth and Abbotswood Garden.
Jennifer said: “Even being nominated for a Lantra award is a big achievement, so to be short-listed is a dream for me. I am passionate about horticulture and use my blog to help and inform people who are considering a career in the sector. In July I was lucky enough to meet the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to discuss my experience and the importance of the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme.”

Lantra Scotland is the sector skills council for land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries, and the awards play a vital role in promoting careers within the rural sector, celebrating the achievements of learners and highlighting the importance to employers of investing in skills.

MC and host for the evening will be a well-known farmer and stand-up comedian, Jim Smith. He will be joined by main speaker Dougie Vipond, TV presenter of sports and outdoors programmes and Deacon Blue founder member and drummer.

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