Agricultural machinery rings in Aberdeenshire, Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders are running a pilot pre-apprenticeship scheme for new entrants to Scotland’s land-based sector, with support from Borders College, Lantra, the Scottish Funding Council, the Scottish Government, Skills Development Scotland and SRUC.

Those who take part in the scheme gain valuable technical skills as part of an induction programme, and work with business mentors (typically farmers) to get practical experience while achieving a Certificate of Work Readiness during their 26-week, paid work placement.

Pre-apprentices come from a range of agricultural and non-agricultural backgrounds, but all share a positive attitude and a willingness to learn from experienced college staff, training instructors and host employers.

Our podcast features some of the partners involved talking about the pilot programme and its benefits.

It is thought that 50% of the 29 pre-apprentices will progress onto Modern Apprenticeships, with the rest moving onto full-time places at college or work.

Pre-apprentices and partner organisations will celebrate their achievements at a graduation lunch in February, and it is hoped that the pilot programme will be extended and introduced to other industries across Scotland, including forestry.

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