Aquaculture Success at Lantra's Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards in Scotland –

Aquaculture Success at Lantra’s Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards in Scotland Published:  04 March, 2013

Jamie Hesketh Aquaculture Winner

Lantra’s tenth Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards ceremony took place on February 28 2013 in Scotland.

The awards recognise the achievements and success of learners in the land-based and environmental sector across Scotland. Winners and runners up from 15 categories, plus an overall winner and runner up, were announced at the prestigious ceremony at the Crieff Hydro Hotel in Perth.

Among the many highlights of the ceremony and gala dinner was the presentation of the aquaculture award, sponsored by Marine Harvest, Dawnfresh, the British Trout Association, Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation and the Scottish Salmon Company. The winner was named as Jamie Hesketh from Parkgate in Dumfries.

Jamie studied a National Certificate in Aquaculture and Fisheries Management at Barony College and now works at Brow Well Fisheries.

He says: “Fish farming provides a great opportunity to work outdoors. It’s good to see the end result of the hours put in on the fish farm when I speak to satisfied fishery owners and anglers.”

Jamie has achieved a number of additional certificates including quadbike handling. Jonathan Jowett of Brow Well Fisheries who nominated Jamie praised his enthusiasm and determination to enhance his skills and employability: “He’s a motivated young man who knows what he wants and makes it happen.”

Jake Handley from Portree on Skye, was announced as the runner up in the aquaculture category. Jake currently works as a Farm Technician for Marine Harvest (Scotland) Ltd. He completed his SVQ Aquaculture Level 2 and is currently working towards a Modern Apprenticeship in Aquaculture Level 3.

Jake said: “I really enjoyed working with one of the key companies in the salmon farming industry. The SVQ has improved my understanding and knowledge of fish husbandry. Work-based training has complemented my Modern Apprenticeship too.” he says.

Jake’s Tutor, Murray Stark, who nominated him, said: “Over the years of nominating candidates for this award, Jake has probably been the most deserving nomination I’ve made. His enthusiasm and willingness to learn has made him a model student. He has shown that the aquaculture industry and the Modern Apprenticeship offer real career opportunities for those with motivation and determination.”

Among the many highlights of the ceremony and gala dinner was the presentation of the fisheries management award, sponsored by SRUC. The winner was named as 29-year-old Adam Benyon-Jones from Dumfries.

Adam has successfully completed an SVQ in Fisheries Management and a National Certificate in Aquaculture and Fishery Operations at Barony College. He has also been heavily involved in volunteering. He explains: “Voluntary work on my local trout fishery included tasks such as litter picking, path maintenance, re-stocking and angling tuition. I also undertook voluntary work with several fisheries trusts where I was involved in electro-fishing, wind farm/hydro surveys, fish rescue and seine netting.”

Adam certainly has no shortage of ambition and plans to undertake additional training and qualifications in the future. “My long-term aim is to pursue work in fisheries management and conservation. I would like to develop my skills, experience and knowledge to a level that would enable me to obtain a full-time position with a fishery board or trust” he states.

Adam’s Tutor, Martyn Haines, who nominated him, said: “Adam came to us with a strong desire to gain the qualifications that would assist him in gaining employment in the freshwater fisheries management field. Through his persistence and dedication he has already made a number of contacts with River Trusts and District Salmon Fishery Boards to help gain practical experience.” Unfortunately Adam was unable to attend the ceremony so Martyn accepted the award on his behalf.

Other awards were presented in areas such as fisheries management, equine, agriculture and horticulture and the standard of entries this year was particularly high.

Head Judge Peter Alexander said: “Lantra has been celebrating learners’ achievements in the land-based and environmental sector since 2003. These awards are vitally important in recognising the success of learners from across Scotland, and also act as a source of inspiration for those considering a career in this diverse and rewarding sector. I would like to congratulate all of the entrants on their hard work.”

Mary Mitchell, Lantra’s Regional Partnership Manager, praised the high standards at the awards: “The judging panel was very impressed with the entries this year and selecting the winners wasn’t easy. Everyone who entered has really worked hard to make a significant difference and raise the profile of the sector across Scotland.”

Valerie Owen OBE, Lantra’s Chair, said: “I applaud all the finalists who show a real passion and dedication to training and the land-based industries. These awards attract the top learners from across Scotland every year who are committed to developing their skills and knowledge. It is vital for the future of these industries and for the wider Scottish economy that we continue to encourage and support new entrants.”

This year’s major sponsors were Skills Development Scotland, Marine Harvest and SRUC. The awards have also been generously supported by various stakeholders and employers from across Scotland who sponsored specific industries or prizes.