National recognition for two apprentices

Jakob Eunson and John Blance at the Lantra awards ceremony.

Two men have gained recognition for their efforts in agriculture and aquaculture in a national competition.

Young farmer Jakob Eunson won the agriculture category of the Lantra awards at the training body’s award ceremony in Dunblane.

Meanwhile, Lerwick man John Blance was named runner-up in the Aquaculture Learner of the Year section.

Jakob, 19, and John, 46, received their awards from farmer and TV presenter Adam Henson on Thursday.

Jakob has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in livestock production through Train Shetland, while working as an apprentice farmer at Uradale Farm in Scalloway.

His ambition is to create a “production to retail” business, raising livestock which he butchers and sells on to customers via a retail outlet.

“Thank you Lantra Scotland for this award, it is something I will cherish for a very long time,” he said.

“I’d also like to thank my award nominator and tutor Janice Leask from Train Shetland and Ronnie Eunson [Jakob’s father] from Uradale Farm. Without them, none of this would be possible.”

John has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in Aquaculture through NAFC Marine Centre, while employed as a fish technician at Grieg Seafood.

Having worked for the Post Office since 1988, John decided it was time for a career change. He is now based in the lumpsucker hatchery, carrying out routine husbandry procedures, water quality checks, feeding, grading and vaccination – a role he’s keen to pursue over the long term.

Lantra Scotland, the sector skills council for the land-based, aquaculture and environmental industries, plays a role in celebrating the achievements of trainees within Scotland’s rural sector.

• Modern apprentice Connor Regan has been part of a national campaign to encourage more employers to take on apprentices – and more young folk to consider work-based learning.

It comes as Scottish Apprenticeship Week has been drawing to a close. The national campaign highlighted what it saw as the benefits of work-based learning
Organised by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), Scottish Apprenticeship Week focuses on the benefits available to businesses that have decided to invest in the skills of their employees.

New foundation apprenticeships mean young people can start a modern apprenticeship at school while graduate level apprenticeships provide employees with work-based learning opportunities to degree level.

Isles MSP Tavish Scott met a number of the isles’ apprentices to mark the event. He also visited John and Jakob.

“Jakob and John have shown that hard work pays off, with Jakob named as Learner of the Year and John a runner-up at the Lantra awards last week.

“It was great to meet some of Shetland’s Engineering apprentices as well, and I look forward to seeing how their learning is put into practice in the future.”


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