NHC GAMEKEEPING STUDENTS ARE SPORTING SUCCESS
10th March 2014
Two Gamekeeping Modern Apprentice’s from the North Highland College UHI have been collecting numerous awards for their commitment to country sports and learning. Duncan Seaton (19) and Greg Sinclair (19) are both studying their SVQ Level 2 in Game and Wildlife Management at the college on a block release basis, spending the rest of their time working on Highland estates.
Duncan Seaton was named Lantra Scotland’s prestigious Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2013 and fellow NHC student Greg Sinclair was runner up for this award.
Duncan and Greg along with their families and tutors attended Lantra Scotland’s prestigious Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2013. The ceremony and gala dinner was held at the Hilton Dunblane Hydro Hotel near Stirling on 6th March. Duncan, from Dores, Inverness was awarded Game and Wildlife Learner of the Year, presented by trophy sponsor George Linton Memorial Trust.
Duncan has been working on Dunglass Estate for the last three years, two of which have been part of his Modern Apprenticeship programme. He first became interested in Gamekeeping while helping his father with his agricultural contracting business. During this time, Duncan worked on a number of farms, regularly coming into contact with Gamekeepers and their trade along the way. After undertaking a work experience programme at the Garrogie Estate in Inverness, he quickly realised Gamekeeping was the career for him.
“Winning the LANTRA Game & Wildlife Learner of the Year Award 2013 means everything to me, and I thank North Highland College, LANTRA and Dunglass Estate for helping me get here. The Modern Apprenticeship scheme has helped underpin the knowledge gained at North Highland College with hands on practical experience. Having my employer at Dunglass Estate oversee my work has also been a great help. He has passed on his knowledge and experience, and given me the grounding I need to succeed. In the short term my aim is to carry on my studies, hopefully completing both my NC and HNC in Gamekeeping. Following that I hope to get a full time job as a Grouse Moor Gamekeeper.”
Award nominator, David Olds from North Highland College, comments on why Duncan has stood out from the crowd:
“Duncan carries out his role at Dunglass with tremendous efficiency. He is always organised, polite and happy at his work. His communication skills are exceptional which is vital when he has to be able to instruct shoot day helpers on what they are expected to do on the day. His good nature is also present in the classroom where a lot of trainee gamekeepers generally don’t like to be. I feel he fully deserves recognition for his efforts, commitment and attitude. I am sure he has a very bright and successful future in Gamekeeping and is an ideal role model for other young Gamekeeping apprentices to follow.”
Fellow student and Modern Apprentice, Greg Sinclair, from New Alyth, Perthshire, was awarded Runner-Up Game & Wildlife Learner of the Year 2013. The judges were impressed with the aptitude of 19-year-old Greg, who has already gained experience at both Atholl Estates and on the Queen's Balmoral estate in Deeside.
Greg entered the profession initially through a two year Skillseekers programme at North Highland College UHI. He is now studying for a national certificate through the college whilst working at Balmoral, and has gained experience of management from riverbank to mountaintop.
Prior to his most recent achievement, Greg was also named The Scottish Gamekeepers Association's Young Gamekeeper of the Year 2013 and was awarded The Tam Tod Trophy at the Scottish Countryside Alliance Awards Ceremony in 2009.
Greg commented: "Managing the countryside keeps everything the way it should be and helps maintain a balance. It is not just game-birds. The work of gamekeepers is very important for other species."
This year, The Tam Tod Trophy runner-up prize was presented to North Highland College student, Duncan Seaton at the Scottish Countryside Alliance Awards Ceremony. Duncan received a Tiso gift voucher and certificate of commendation. Nominated by Jemma Lowell, from the college, she recognised Duncan’s exemplary manners and attitude along with a mature approach to learning about game-keeping on a sporting estate. The awards ceremony was held at Scottish Parliament in Holyrood, Edinburgh.
Debbie Gray, Director of Enterprise and Innovation at North Highland College is pleased with the success of the gamekeeping students “Land-based studies is a niche area for the North Highland College UHI and we are very proud of both staff and students from this area which is growing in popularity. We could not of course, deliver any of these programmes without the huge industrial support we receive and are very grateful to our employers for placements provided for MA, NC and HE programmes.”
Tavish Scott MSP, Duncan Seaton, ?