Pre-Apprenticeship Programme

Applications for 2025 open on 1st November 2024


The Land-based Pre-apprenticeship is an ideal pathway for progression within the wider rural sector (including farming, horticulture, food production, forestry, game and wildlife, land-based engineering, conservation and landscaping) allowing new entrants to earn and learn in the workplace whilst also gaining a vocational qualification (SCQF4). Accredited by the Scottish Rural College (SRUC), the programme is currently funded by Scottish Government and administered by Skills Development Scotland, on an extended pilot basis.

Why work in Land-based?

Nearly 65,000 people work in Scotland’s agriculture industry and 80% of Scotland’s landmass is used for agriculture. Food and drink is one of the most important and fastest growing sectors in Scotland. This is a vital industry that is important to the food security of every nation and region. It is also a significant sector of the economy that includes a largenumber of small businesses.

Working in the land-based sector offers a lifestyle that is diverse and rewarding, with a range of benefits:

  • Gaining a wide range of transferable skills that will be valuable throughout your career
  • The opportunity to connect with the landscape and nature
  • Building a strong sense of community and family with those you work alongside
  • A sector where entrants can proactively help to address climate change
  • The land-based sector is so varied, it offers good job security and high rates of pay for experienced skilled workers.
  • Over the long-term (2025 to 2032), Skills Development Scotland labour data forecasts that approx.21,000 people will be required in the sector, this is mainly due to replacement demand as half of all agricultural workers are currently aged 50 years plus.

The aims of the programme

The ultimate aim of the Land-based Pre-apprenticeship is to help prepare young people for employment in agriculture and the wider rural sector.
The programme provides practical experience, training and knowledge allowing the candidates to make informed decisions as to how they would like their career to progress.

Pre-Apprenticeship Format:

Upfront Induction

Working in collaboration with SRUC, the successful applicants undertake an upfront residential induction on a college campus; involving a range of activities and certificated training as follows:

  • Certificate of Work Readiness (CWR- SCQF level 4)
  • Health & Safety Risk Assessment
  • Emergency First Aid
  • Manual Handling Awareness
  • Tractor Driving (3 days) + on the road Tractor Driving
  • Rough Terrain Telescopic Forklift (3 days)
  • Crop Production/Livestock Production

Training Courses

Up to £1500 of training will be offered to each candidate with an element of certified training tailored to individual needs.

Work Placement

Following the upfront induction, successful pre-apprentices commence their individual placements with an approved mentor business for 26 weeks. The work placement is fully paid, based on 40 hrs per week. Payment for time worked is in accordance with the Scottish Agricultural Wages Board (SAWB).


All candidates who successfully complete the programme will receive a certificate of completion awarded from Ringlink. 

Click the icon above to download the Forestry Pre-apprenticeship booklet

Programme Partners

SRUC: Provide the facilities for a residential induction. SRUC also deliver the Certificate of Work Readiness (CWR) together with additional training units.

Ringlink Scotland: Provide the day-to-day management of the programme, recruit and support candidates along with the mentor businesses, and provide certified training for the trainees.

For any queries contact: Gail Robertson, 01561 376022 or

To apply for the Pre-Apprenticeship

If you are interested in becoming a Mentor

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