Mentor appeal to offer first step into farming

“You were young yourself once!”

It’s not the only reason Pre-apprenticeship mentor farmer David Smith from Auchnagatt offers placements to promising young people but it’s a good one.

Applications are now closed for this year’s Land-based Pre-apprenticeship so we’re looking for farmers and producers to host them for a six-month placement from the summer.

Could you share your knowledge, skills and guidance with a young person at the beginning of their career?

Half of all agricultural workers in Scotland are aged 50 or above and the sector needs some 21,000 extra people to join the ranks between 2025 and 2032, according to Skills Development Scotland (SDS) data.

Accredited by the Scottish Rural College (SRUC) and administered by SDS, the successful Land-based Pre-apprenticeship scheme is seen as a perfect way to attract new blood, with 36 agricultural and eight forestry Pre-apprentices starting out this year.


Kyle Shepherd and Callum Thomson, previous pre-apprentices

Ringlink operations manager Gail Robertson said: “Given the importance of the sector both in terms of supporting nature, rural communities and the economy, it is vital that we find solutions to attract more entrants, widen the pool of applicants and increase training opportunities.

“The Land-based Pre-apprenticeship is an ideal pathway for progression within the wider rural sector allowing new entrants to earn and learn in the workplace whilst also gaining a vocational qualification.”

Scott Mather

And mentors have the potential to make a lasting impact on their trainee.

Angus mentor farmer Scott Mather described it like this: “The positives of being a mentor are you’re developing the future workforce for agriculture in our own business, and possibly in the wider agricultural sector.”

And you can watch more of what mentors David Smith and Scott Mather had to say about their experiences by clicking on their names above.

Mentors have the potential to make a lasting impact on their trainee