TWO STIRLINGSHIRE trainees were recognised at Lantra Scotland’s annual Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards.

Scott Milne and Heather Moir were both prize winners at the event which took place at Doubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro on Wednesday, March 28.

Scott, 17, is from Cowie, and won the Fisheries Management and Environmental Conservation category, as well as the Tam Todd Trophy, which is awarded in association with Countryside Learning Scotland to an outstanding young learner.

Heather, 20, was runner-up in the equine category.

Scott is doing an SVQ Level 2 in Environmental Conservation through SRUC, while working for Stirling Council Fisheries.

He recently took on the role of surveying seal predation within the river Forth, delivering workshops to youngsters and engaging with council senior management to agree a new pricing structure.

Scott said: “I was surprised to even be short listed for an award, so to win is truly unbelievable.

"This will give me great confidence going forward and the recognition I need to succeed in a very competitive industry.

"I’d like to personally thank all the great people at Stirling Council Fisheries for supporting me through good and bad times and my tutors at SRUC who have made all of this possible.”

Heather, from Blair Drummond, completed an NC in Horse Care with distinction through SRUC last year.

Her riding and practical skills developed significantly at college and she also completed the British Horse Society Stage 1.

She worked hard and passed with distinction.

Heather is planning a working trip to New Zealand in the near future, where she hopes to develop her confidence and practical skills.

The 2018 Learner of the Year Awards were organised by Lantra Scotland, the sector skills council for the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries, and saw more than 200 guests, including finalists and their families, event supporters, employers, training providers and industry leaders, take part in Lantra’s largest awards’ ceremony yet.

Emma Staniforth, a previous overall learner of the year winner, spoke about her experiences as one of Lantra’s industry champions.

The keynote speech was given by Dougie Vipond, TV presenter of sports and outdoors programmes and Deacon Blue founder member and drummer.

Dougie then presented prizes for the Higher Education Learner of the Year, the Secondary Schools Award, CARAS winners, Jean’s Jam Award and the Tam Tod Trophy.

This was followed by winners and runners-up awards for agriculture, aquaculture, equine, horticulture, game and wildlife, land-based engineering, trees and timber, fisheries management and environmental conservation categories.

The evening ended with awards for Modern Apprentice of the Year, for the Overall Runner-up and finally for the Land-based and Aquaculture Learner Year Overall Winner.

According to Kevin Patrick, director of Lantra Scotland, the awards play a vital role in celebrating the achievements of trainees within Scotland’s rural sector, as well as encouraging employers to invest in the next generation of talent.

He said: “Our awards highlight the incredible people, the great work they do and the career opportunities within Scotland’s land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries."