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Pupils encouraged to grow a career in Tayside's rural industries

School pupils from across Tayside and the Mearns were given the chance to make carnation buttonholes, cuddle guinea pigs and ride a life-sized "horse simulator" last week (Wednesday 17th September) - all with the aim of encouraging them to consider a career in Scotland's land-based industries!

Almost 300 pupils attended the careers event at Wester Meathie Farm, Inverarity, near Forfar, which was organised by the Tayside Rural Training Forum, of which Lantra is a partner.

Pupils from Arbroath Academy are encouraged to make the link between farming and everyday food products, such as cooking oil

The 12 to 14 year olds were treated to a tour of eight demonstrations from local experts working or teaching in agriculture, animal care, biodiversity, equine, floristry, gamekeeping, horticulture and land-based engineering.

Opening the event, Angus Provost Bill Middleton said: "I am delighted to support this initiative, as anything that can be done to raise awareness of careers in the land-based sector should be encouraged."

Jenda Westwood, Lantra's Regional Development Consultant for Grampian & Tayside, said: "Land-based industries play an important role in Tayside. The aim of this event was to promote careers and raise the profile of employment in the rural sector to local young people in a fun and interesting way.

"Through the interactive nature of the event, we encouraged involvement and discussion with the youngsters to try and dispel any misconceptions and clarify the opportunities available."

Demonstrators included Angus College students Sarah Todd and Karen McAllister, who are currently studying for an HNC in Animal Care. They showed the youngsters just some of the small animals they learn about and care for as part of their course - including guinea pigs, hamsters, and rats.

Arbroath High School students get to grips with making carnation buttonholes at the floristry stand

Lorna Davies, who has recently completed an SVQ Level 3 and Modern Apprenticeship in Floristry as a mature student through Lantra, taught the pupils how to make beautiful buttonholes using colourful carnations - an activity that proved equally popular with boys and girls!

Other demonstrators included: Colin Gair, a freelance gamekeeper and pest controller working throughout east Scotland, who talked the students through a variety of traps for pests including mink and wild cats; Gordon Croll, Horticulture Team Leader at Dundee College, got pupils to take part in a garden design and layout exercise; and the British Horse Society Scotland brought along a life-sized "horse simulator" for pupils to try out.

For more information on Lantra's careers work in Scotland contact Jenda Westwood on 01738 553311 or email


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