LANTRA Announce Equine Finalists

LANTRA Announce Equine Finalists

 Equine trainees shortlisted for Lantra Learner of the Year Awards

Two trainees from the equine industry have been short-listed for Lantra Scotland’s Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards, which will take place at theDoubletree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro Hotel on Thursday 7th March 2019.

The finalists are Aimee MacRae and Lauryn Penman.

Aimee MacRae

Aimee, aged 19 from Glasgow, is doing a Level 4 Equido qualification at Ross Dhu Equestrian Ltd in Larkhall. She is an outstanding student, achieving distinction passes in most of the modules she has taken.

Aimee said: “I think I deserve this award because I’ve worked hard to achieve one of the highest qualifications in the equine industry. In spite of ongoing health issues, I have always done my utmost.”

Lauryn Penman

Lauryn, aged 18 from Fife, has completed her NC in Horse Care at SRUC.She is a remarkable young person who initially didn’t think she could achieve the NC, but is now studying at HNC level through her sheer hard work and determination. Lauryn is a role model for other equine students and regularly helps at open days.

Lauryn said: “Studying has not only raised my self-esteem, but has given me the determination and courage to progress this year to an HNC in Equine Studies, a level I never dreamt possible.”

Lantra Scotland is the sector skills council for land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries, and the awards 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.

MC and host for the evening will be well-known farmer and stand-up comedian, Jim Smith.

Last year’s overall winner, Megan Rowland, will also talk about the difference the award has made to her career and her role as one of Lantra’s industry champions.

The awards include categories for the agriculture, animal care, aquaculture, equine, horticulture, game and wildlife, trees and timber, land-based engineering and the environmental conservation industries, as well as Higher Education, Rural Schools, Modern Apprentice of the Year and CARAS (Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies) Awards.

The CARAS Award was established by the UK’s four national agricultural societies, including the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). It aims to recognise, through an awards scheme, distinguished achievements in agriculture and related land-based industries. RHASS also support an award for secondary schools.

The highlight of the evening will be the announcement of the Learner of the Year Overall Winner, for the talented trainee who has demonstrated exceptional ability, hard work and passion during their studies.

The Tam Tod Trophy will be awarded in association with Countryside Learning Scotland to an outstanding young learner. The trophy was created in memory of the late Tam Tod, described as a well-loved gamekeeper, ghillie and lifelong friend of the countryside.

Jean’s Jam Award will also be making a return. The award recognises an inspiring mentor, teacher or trainer and was donated by training instructor Elspeth Watson in memory of her friend, Jean Costello.

The finalists for the 2019 learner of the year awards were chosen by an independent judging panel made up of influential figures from across the land-based and aquaculture sector: Agriculture and rural affairs journalist Erika Hay, Keith Paterson of Forestry Commission Scotland, farmer Keith Redpath, former agricultural banker Jimmy McLean; Lisa Connell of The Scottish Salmon Company and Rebecca Dawes of Jane Craigie Marketing.

Liz Barron-Majerik, Director of Lantra Scotland commented:

“We’re delighted to announce the finalists for our 2019 Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards. As well as highlighting the achievements of new entrants to our sector, the awards play a key role in promoting the importance of gaining qualifications and developing skills, for both trainees and their employers. Everyone who was nominated, whether a finalist or not, should be extremely proud of this recognition, and we look forward to celebrating their success at our ceremony in the DoubleTree by Hilton Dunblane Hydro on Thursday 7th March.

We are very grateful to the independent panel of judges, to training providers and to the employers for contributions, and of course to all of our generous event sponsors.”

Erika Hay, chair of the independent judging panel, said:

“As in previous years, we’ve been very impressed with the quality of people nominated for Lantra’s awards, and it’s been a privilege to meet them. We know how much it means to finalists to get to this stage of the awards, as it’s a great boost for their self-confidence and demonstrates their potential to the rest of the sector.

There’s a real depth of talent and enthusiasm coming through across the country, and that can only be a good thing for Scotland’s rural economy.”

Since the awards were launched in 2004, there have been over 1000 nominees and 300 finalists.

Tickets for the evening are available from Lantra on 01738 310164 or See

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

Lantra Scotland is on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.