The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) has announced the details of its 2015 Young Gamekeeper of the Year Award, part of its Year of The Rural Worker programme.
The prize recognises individuals whose passion and work, in line with best practice and responsible management, make them ambassadors for their chosen profession in Scotland.
This year’s award is open to young gamekeepers, stalkers, river or land ghillies, wildlife managers and rangers in the early stages of a career, and individuals may be nominated by estates, senior staff, shoot operators or college lecturers.
Youngsters who have excelled on work placement as part of their college education can also be nominated.
The winner will be selected following informal interviews, and the presentation of a cheque will be made at the 26th GWCT Scottish Game Fair at Scone on Friday, July 3.
Winning the SGA Young Gamekeeper of the Year Award is a significant career endorsement by an organisation representing over 5,300 members across Scotland.
A Parliamentary motion commending the last winner, Greg Sinclair, and the important contribution made to Scotland by responsible wildlife managers, was signed by MSPs across the political spectrum at Holyrood.
SGA Chairman Alex Hogg said: “We have altered the timescale of the 2015 award because we wanted the work of young people in our profession to be recognised more widely, hence the decision to announce the winner at this year’s Scottish Game Fair.
“These young men and women represent the future of an industry worth £200 million a year to Scotland. However, their sheer hard work, often during unsociable hours and in all conditions, helps to ensure Scotland can support a wildlife tourism product worth a further £65 million per annum.
“This is no insignificant sum. Similarly, the proven benefits for a broad range of species, from curlew to red squirrels and freshwater pearl mussels, are delivered at no cost to the public purse.
“Not only is it vital to have new entrants with the right passion and skill, it is also important to recognise all those who create relevant opportunities for young people in our less populated and remote areas. These jobs help to keep rural communities alive and families working in them.”
Candidates being nominated will be scored on their passion for good management, their adherence to best practice and the law, a willingness to learn and adapt and an understanding of why responsible management brings benefits in the public interest.
Nominations must be received by June 17, and should be sent to the SGA office or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org