Apprentice pair aim to be best of the crop

An apprentice farmer and a hatchery technician have been shortlisted as finalists in a national competition that rewards the best of the crop learning about agriculture, aquaculture and the environment.

Jakob Eunson and John Blance are in with a chance of scooping the Learner of the Year Award, hosted by training body Lantra Scotland.

Working at Uradale Farm, Jakob, 19, is a modern apprentice in agriculture, studying a course that is run by Train Shetland. He regularly studies at the Scottish Rural College (SRUC), at their Barony Campus near Dumfries, to complete his SVQ Level 3 qualification in Livestock Production, having already completed an SVQ Level 2 in Agriculture.

Jakob Eunson is learning about agriculture at the family’s Uradale farm.

Jakob previously worked as an apprentice butcher and gained qualifications in butchery, which has also helped develop retail opportunities for the organic farm, which breeds Shetland cattle and sheep.

Janice Leask of Train Shetland said: “I am delighted that Jakob has made it to the final of the Lantra Awards. He’s a great ambassador for organic farming and produce, and involved at all levels on the family-run farm in Shetland, from crop and livestock production through to retail.”

John Blance, 46, has recently completed his Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture at the NAFC Marine Centre, gaining an SVQ Level 3 in Aquaculture.

While completing his studies, John started with Grieg Seafood Shetland around two years ago, working on marine

Aquaculture apprentice John Blance.

sites before recently transferring to the NAFC hatchery, where he is now involved with rearing lumpsucker fish as a biological control for sea lice.

Stuart Fitzsimmons of NAFC said: “John has been an exceptional student and modern apprentice whose work has been of a high standard. His knowledge of the aquaculture industry has improved significantly and we’re pleased that his hard work has been recognised as a finalist in the Lantra Learner of the Year awards.”

The Awards are taking place on Thursday 2nd March in Dunblane, with guest speaker Adam Henson, BBC Country file presenter and farmer.


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