Borders College is celebrating a bumper crop of agriculture students this year, confirming the Newtown St Boswells Rural Skills campus as a leading provider of agriculture education in Scotland.
The College has recorded its highest number of full-time agriculture students, with 25 students studying on the NC Agriculture course and 18 students studying Level 5 Modern Agriculture. In addition to an increase in overall student numbers, the department has also seen an increase in female agriculture students, with 12 studying NC Agriculture.
Apprenticeships also remain strong, with the Level 5 Agriculture and Level 6 Mixed Farming courses boasting 12 apprentices, who are all from the south of Scotland and in full-time employment across the region.
Andrew Johnson, Head of Sector for Rural Skills at Borders College, said:
“Agriculture is in our DNA at Borders College, so we’re thrilled to see more and more students opting for a career in this dynamic and rapidly changing sector.
“It’s great to see an increasing number of students from a non-farming background pursuing a career in agriculture, as well as seeing more female students taking advantage of the growing opportunities that now exist.
“We’ve invested heavily in our agri-tech facilities during recent years. These facilities, combined with high-quality teaching and close cooperation with business, make us a beacon for agriculture education.”
35 students from the whole of Scotland are also currently studying on pre-apprenticeship courses, run in conjunction with Border Machinery Ring and Tarff Valley. In addition to this, 18 students are studying on the Schools Academy Programme. Around 85% of those will move from school to full-time study at Borders College.
Emily Mulligan, who studies on the NC Agriculture programme, said:
“I really enjoy the course; the lecturers are so supportive and have a great knowledge of agriculture. This will help me get employment in the industry.”
Jack Fletcher, who studies on the NC Agriculture programme, commented:
“I started with the Schools Academy and progressed through Modern Agriculture to NC Agriculture, I really enjoy the practical side of the courses and enjoy being out on farm learning.”
Michael Bayne from the Borders Machinery Ring added:
“The link up between Borders College and Borders Machinery Ring works well and is helping to encourage new entrants into agriculture and addressing the current labour shortage.”
Young people in farming can benefit from the variety of career choices that they have. Agriculture and farming have always been an evolving field, but it’s now more diverse than ever, with careers ranging from those on the farm to those in agribusiness, agricultural economics and agricultural technology.
Applications will open for courses in January 2024.