Now 29 young trainees have started a four-day block induction at the Scottish Rural College (SRUC) in Aberdeen before commencing six months employment with rural businesses from July onwards.
Following support from Scottish Government and Skills Development Scotland in 2019, which saw the programme rolled out on a national pilot basis, the programme has continued to grow from strength to strength, said the machinery rings behind the scheme.
Ringlink Scotland, Borders Machinery Ring and Tarff Services said they were proud to have proven that the pre-apprenticeship programme could be delivered during a pandemic – adding that over two years the pilot had recruited 80 young pre-apprentices with a further 60 planned.
“It was a pleasure to finally meet and welcome our largest cohort of 29 pre-apprentices as the recruitment and selection process was carried out entirely online,” said Gail Robertson, Ringlink’s group operations manager.
More than half of the participants were from non-agricultural backgrounds.
Robertson added that with an increasing demand for workers, new entrants and skills within the sector, it was vitally important that sufficient mentor businesses offer opportunities, and allow the trainees to progress their land-based careers.