An Edinburgh-based agriculture trainee Katie Dubarry has won a prestigious award for her studies.
She has been named as Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year by the Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies (CARAS).
CARAS was established by the UK’s four national agricultural societies – including the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland – to recognise distinguished achievements in agriculture and related land-based industries. Katie is doing a BSc in agriculture at Scotland’s Rural College’s Oatridge campus in West Lothian.
Having worked as a beauty therapist for ten years, she decided to have a change of career after attending an open day at the college.
She went on to complete a NC and HND in agriculture, and is now working on her degree.
Katie will continue her studies, possibly to post-graduate level, before working in a specialist or research role in livestock welfare, nutrition or organic production.
She has decided to specislise in animal science, plant protection and animal health.
Katie said: “I’m really happy to have won this award, it’s great to be recognised for the work I’ve put into my studies.”
The 31-year-old recieved her award from farmer and TV presenter Adam Henson at a gala dinner in Dunblane, where he spoke of the importance of fostering new talent and investing in skills to ensure a lasting future for Scotland’s food and drink sector and the wider rural economy.
Henson said: “It’s inspiring to see such talented people getting the support of employers and training providers as they start their careers.”
Colin Hume, of SRUC Oatridge campus, said: “Changing careers is never easy, but Katie has embraced every minute of it and has worked hard to learn about agriculture and that dedication is now paying off. We wish her the best of luck going forward.”
The Learner of the Year Awards were organised by Lantra Scotland, the sector skills council for the land-based, aquaculture and environmental industries, and play a vital role in celebrating the achievements of trainees within Scotland’s rural sector and in encouraging employers to invest in the next generation of talent.
Kevin Patrick, director of Lantra Scotland, said: “Our awards recognise the achievements of Scotland’s top learners, their employers and training providers, and highlight the important contribution they make to our economy, particularly in rural areas.
“Land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries offer a wide range of rewarding career opportunities.”