AN apprentice with the Scottish Salmon Company scooped three big prizes at the Lantra Scotland Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards last night.
Janis Brivkalns from Dunoon was named as joint overall Learner of the Year, as well as winning the Aquaculture Learner of the Year and the Modern Apprentice of the Year accolades, at the awards ceremony in Dunblane.
For the first time ever, the Learner of the Year honour was shared, with Amy Park from Hawick, an apprentice in mixed farming, the joint winner.
Brivkalns said: ‘I feel very honoured with these Lantra Awards, I wasn’t expecting to win and to find that I’ve won three awards is amazing.
‘My job is incredibly rewarding, it’s a real privilege to work with the team, at the heart of salmon production. I enjoy being part of an industry that is so important to Scotland’s economy and heritage.’
Craig Anderson, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Company, said: ‘To win three awards is a remarkable achievement, our congratulations go to Janis, he is an inspiration and we are extremely proud to see his dedication recognised by Lantra.
‘With over 600 people across 60 sites, our people are our greatest asset and we are committed to investing in their training and development. We run over 12,000 hours of training annually and employ 38 modern apprentices across the business.’
Runner up in the aquaculture category was Scottish Sea Farms’ apprentice Billy Welsh, from Stromness in Orkney.
And vet Harry Hamlin-Wright of Dawnfresh was awarded one of four CARAS (Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies) prizes.
Also honoured as an aquaculture finalist was Andrew Richardson, a masters student at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS).
Lantra Scotland, the sector skills council for land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries, held the annual awards ceremony at the Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro, with Perthshire farmer and comedian Jim Smith hosting the event.
Picture: Lantra winner Janis Brivkalns with awards host Jim Smith last night