Winners at Lantra Scotland's ALBAS in 2023 celebrate

Finalists have now been named for Lantra Scotland’s Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills (the ALBAS), which will take place at Crieff Hydro Hotel on Thursday 7 March 2024.

Lantra Scotland is a charity which works to increase the number and diversity of employees in the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation sector, and drive their skills development.

The ALBAS play a vital role in promoting careers within the rural sector, celebrating the achievements of learners and highlighting the importance to employers of investing in skills.

Host for the evening will be the Red Shepherdess, otherwise known as Hannah Jackson, a farmer, public speaker, writer, adventurer and photographer.

Industry categories at this year’s ALBAS cover agriculture, animal care, aquaculture, equine, game and wildlife, horticulture, land-based engineering and trees and timber.

As well as prizes for Overall Winner, Runner-up and Modern Apprentice of the Year, there are also awards for Higher Education, School Pupil and Secondary Schools, CARAS (Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies), a Mentor award for inspirational tutor, the Tam Tod Trophy and the Anna Murray Award for Partnership Working.

Finalists for ALBAS 2024 were selected by an independent judging panel made up of influential figures from across the land-based and aquaculture sector, chaired by Rebecca Dawes, Agri and Rural Communicator with JCM&Co. Bringing his horticultural expertise to the panel for the first time this year is David Knott, Curator of Living Collections, The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

Finalists for ALBAS 2024:

  •     Amy Young from Duns in Berwickshire has completed her National Certificate in Horse Care Level 5 at Borders College;
  •     Aoife Cowburgh from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders has completed her SVQ in Horse Care through SRUC Oatridge while working as a Competition Groom for Rhymer’s Stables in the Scottish Borders;
  •     Campbell Strang from Blair Atholl in Perthshire is doing his SVQ in Game and Wildlife Management Deer Route at Borders College while working as a Trainee Stalker at Atholl Estates;   
  • Colin MacDonald from Acharacle in Argyll has completed his SVQ Agriculture MA while working as an Apprentice Stockman at Bragleenmore Farm in Kilninver, Argyll;
  •     Craig Grounds from Oban in Argyll and Bute has completed his Modern Apprentice Level 3 in Aquaculture at UHI Shetland while working as an Assistant Site Manager at Scottish Seafarms Ltd;
  •     East Dunbartonshire Council is working in partnership with Glasgow City Council to deliver training for their Modern Apprentices.
  •     Elaine Sandhu from Paisley in Renfrewshire is doing her Extended Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at SRUC Oatridge while working as a Student Veterinary Nurse at McKenzie Vets;
  •     Hamish MacLean from Tobermory on the Isle of Mull has completed his SCQF Level 9 in Aquaculture Management at UHI Shetland while working as an Area Manager for Bakkafrost;
  •     Harry Evans from Beauly in Inverness-shire is doing his HNC in Arboriculture and Urban Forestry at the Scottish School of Forestry UHI Inverness;
  •     Hayden Taylor-Ramsay from Kingussie in Inverness-shire is doing his Skills for Work qualification as a pupil at Kingussie High School with UHI NWH;
  •     Islay High School on Islay in Argyll and Bute is running the Battery Project to manage a 2.5 acre site of native woodland, wild flower meadows. a picnic area, and a gorse and rocky habitat with public footpaths, increasing habitat diversity and introducing Rural Skills for pupils;
  •     Jennifer Mitchell from Barrhead in Glasgow is doing a BSc (Hons) in Agriculture at SRUC while working as a Trainee Consultant at SAC Consulting;
  •     Katie Turner from Scone in Perthshire is doing her Level 3 Diploma in Veterinary Nursing at SRUC Oatridge while working as a Student Veterinary Nurse at Tay Valley Veterinary and Equine Centre;
  •     Katrina Coutts from Wethersta in Shetland has completed her HND in Agriculture at SRUC Oatridge while working as a Livestock Yardsman for Shetland Livestock Marketing Group;
  •     Kevin Pearson from Ballingry in Fife is doing his SVQ in Trees and Timber while working as a Forestry Apprentice at Rural Skills Scotland Ltd;
  •     Louise Craig from Lockerbie in Dumfries and Galloway is doing her NPA in Agriculture while studying at Wallace Hall Academy;
  •     Monique Llanos from Dysart in Fife is doing her SVQ Level 2 in Estate Maintenance as an Estate Maintenance Apprentice for Rural Skills Scotland Ltd;
  •     Nathan Taylor from St Ninians in Stirlingshire is doing his SVQ in Environmental Conservation at SRUC Oatridge while working as a Countryside Management Apprentice at Stirling Council;
  •     Reece Houston from Strathpeffer in Ross and Cromarty has completed his SVQ in Land-based Engineering Agricultural Machinery at SRUC Oatridge while working as an apprentice for Philip Scott at Ravenhill, Dingwall;
  •     Ross Rutherford from Edinburgh is doing his SVQ Level 3 in Landscaping at SRUC Oatridge while working as a Landscape Gardener for Noble Grounds Care Ltd;
  •     Ryan Yuill from Prestonpans in East Lothian has completed his SVQ Level 2 Sports Turf at SRUC Elmwood while working as a Greenkeeper at North Berwick Golf Club;
  •     Scott Cunningham from Dalbeattie in Dumfries and Galloway has completed his SVQ Level 2 Agriculture Modern Apprenticeship through Tarff Valley while working as a Calf and Youngstock Rearer at Craigley Farm, Castle Douglas;
  •     Spencer Johnson from Shetland is doing his MA in Land-based Engineering at SRUC Oatridge and Shetland UHI while working as an apprentice engineer at Braewick Agricultural Services in Eshaness, Shetland;
  •     Stephanie Bartlett from Galashiels in the Scottish Borders is doing a BSc Applied Animal Science at Borders College;
  •     Stuart Lavender from Mossbank in Shetland, has completed his MA Level 2 in Aquaculture at UHI Shetland while working as a Site Assistant at Cooke Aquaculture;
  •     The King's Foundation from Cumnock in East Ayrshire in partnership with Jamie Oliver and Jimmy Doherty, is running Food for the Future, a secondary school age programme tackling the issue of food waste by taking pupils through skills masterclasses.
  •     Wallace Hall Academy near Thornhill in Dumfries and Galloway is working on a school-wide Outdoor Learning Project which includes developing a new learning space for pupils.

Dr Liz Barron-Majerik MBE MICFor, Director of Lantra Scotland commented:

“Our ALBAS have an important role to play in highlighting the achievements of new entrants and career changers in our sector, and in showing people the benefits of skills development and partnership working.

I would like to say a heartfelt congratulations to every one of this year’s finalists and wish them good luck at the ALBAS ceremony in March, but I’d also like to say a big ‘well done’ to all of our nominees. We had a record number of nominations which were of a very high standard indeed.

We are also grateful to the independent industry figures who are our judges, to training providers and employers who submit the nominations, and of course to all our generous supporters who make our event possible”.

Tickets for the awards ceremony are available from Lantra Scotland on 01738 310164 or

Lantra’s work in Scotland is supported by the Scottish Government.