Lantra announces Horticulture Learner of the Year Award 2013 shortlist

Horticulture students Gary Kilbride, Sean Smith and Douglas Dowling have been shortlisted for the Horticulture Learner of the Year Award 2013 in a bumper year for entries.

Douglas Dowling, one of three apprentices shortlisted
The prize is one of several industry awards which will be presented at Lantra Scotland’s Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2013 ceremony, to be held at the Hilton Dunblane Hydro Hotel near Dunblane on 6 March.

Organised by Lantra, the competition recognises talent across several land-based sectors and will be attended by Scottish Minister for Youth Employment Angela Constance and other key figures.

For the first time in the awards’ 11 year history, the judging panel has put forward three nominees for the Horticulture Learner of the Year Award 2013, reflecting an increase in the quality of nominees from the sector.   

Glaswegians Gary Kilbride, 19 and Sean Smith, 18, both work for Glasgow City Council where they are studying for the Modern Apprenticeship SVQ Level 3 in Parks, Gardens and Greenspace. Douglas Dowling, aged 19 from Broxburn, West Lothian, is studying the same qualification with West Lothian Council and SRUC Oatridge College.

Lantra got its highest number of nominations across the 13 categories since the awards were launched in 2003.

Regional director of Lantra Scotland William Fergusson said: "The fact we have chosen three finalists this year is testament to the quality of the nominees. I think this is a clear reflection of rising standards within the training and education sector driven by increasing expectations from within the industry.

"We believe the high standards set by these awards, and the inspirational messages they communicate to young people, represents an important stepping stone to helping industry meet their skills demands." 

2014 will see the return of the CARAS Awardthe Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Award and the Modern Apprentice of the Year Award. There are also seven industry awards covering all the key sectors, from agriculture, aquaculture and equine, to horticulture, game and wildlife, trees & timber, land-based engineering and three schools and education awards.

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