Borders College students land learning honours

TWO students from Borders College have come out on top in a competition to find Scotland’s best land-based learners.

Josh Halley, from Jedburgh, and Tillmouth’s Michael Binnie scooped awards at the Learner of the Year ceremony hosted by training body Lantra.

Josh, 15, was named Schools Land-based Learner of the Year – the first time the title has gone to a Borders College student. The college has seen its students finish in the runner-up slot thrice.

He also lifted the Caras award which recognises youngsters who the judges believe have a bright future in the land-based sector.

Josh has completed a rural skills course and hopes to find a place on a full-time gamekeeping course next year.

Michael won the top agricultural student award and was also named as the best overall modern apprentice in Scotland..

He is studying at the Scottish Agricultural College and intends to go abroad to gain experience.

Scotland’s minister for youth employment, Angela Constance, was one of 125 guests who attended the award ceremony in Crieff Hydro Hotel.

She commented: “Often in a time of economic uncertainty it is staff training and skills development that can suffer first and foremost.

“Faced with an ever-increasing competitiveness on a global scale, it is imperative that our workforce is provided with every tool at their disposal to give Scotland the edge that it needs to continue to prosper.”

The judges included Peter Alexander, Algo Blairgowrie Ltd; Russell Taylor, Taypack Potatoes Ltd; Keith Paterson, Forestry Commission Scotland; Erika Hay, journalist/consultant; and Ray Jones, Scotland Food and Drink.