‘Huge congratulations’ to award-winning modern apprentices

Modern apprentices have earned a “huge congratulations” after picking up a stack of awards.

UHI Shetland said it was “delighted and proud” after four of its apprentices were recognised in the finals of the Lantra Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills (Albas) on Thursday night.

Nia Hunter from Weisdale was the overall 2023 winner, named Lantra modern apprentice of the year – the highest accolade of the night.

Nia. who has been has been doing an SVQ in Agriculture while working as an apprentice farmer for A&D Hunter at Scatsta Farm,  was also agricultural learner of the year.

She received the Council for Awards of Royal Agricultural Societies (Caras) too.

She said:  “To be chosen as overall winner is an incredible and humbling experience. 

“A big thank you to my tutors at UHI Shetland, SRUC Barony, my employers at A & D Hunter, my family and everyone who has helped me along the way.”

Craig Johnstone, who has been doing a technical apprenticeship in aquaculture, while working as a site manager for Bakkafrost Scotland, was named aquaculture learner of the year. 

Lori Smith from Bixter was runner-up in the same category. She completed her modern apprenticeship, while working as a technician at the Girlsta Freshwater Hatchery.

Shannon Leask, who is from Quarff and works at the Plantiecrub Garden Centre and Nursery, was runner-up in the in the horticulture learner of the year category.

UHI offered all the finalists a “huge congratulations”.

The Albas are organised by Lantra, the sector skills council for the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries.
Lantra’s Scotland director Liz Barron-Majerik said the awards recognise the success of trainees in Scotland’s land-based and aquaculture sector, while also encouraging employers to think about the future workforce.

“We have again had some fantastic entries for the ALBAS, and everyone who was nominated should be very proud of their achievements,” she said. 

“Our learners are literally the best of the best from our sector, a sector which is crucial to the economy, our communities and for the environment.”


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