Speaking during national careers week, Jim Goodlad, Gamekeeping and Wildlife Management lecturer at SRUC Elmwood, said: “The modern gamekeeper of the 21st century must be a highly-trained professional possessing an accomplished skill set combining theory with hands-on experience.”
Stating the rural colleges now worked with over 30 Scottish estates, he said gamekeepers needed to keep abreast of new legislation, conservation measures as well as best practice out on the moors:
“So combining college-led learning with extensive practical placements is paramount. College courses offer essential training to equip the next generation of gamekeepers to manage Scotland’s countryside.”
Goodlad said that the gamekeeping department at the Elmwood campus of the SRUC in Fife operated a digital learning platform to suit learner needs, as well as interacting with the gamekeeping industry to arrange study trips and work placements or students.
He said the college currently offered one-year NC and modern apprenticeship courses allowing students to go into employment on estates or further their gamekeeping and wildlife management studies. He added that an HNC course was being developed and that for practical experience the college collaborated with several deer grouse and pheasant estates to conduct student field trips.
“Estates first and foremost are now selecting new recruits with nationally accredited training and qualifications and who can then adapt their practical skills to the unique workings of that individual estate,” said Goodlad.