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Applications are now open for 2022

The work-based pre-apprenticeship programme is an ideal pathway of progression within the rural sector, allowing new entrants to earn and learn whilst also gaining a vocational qualifcation.

Accredited by the Scottish Rural College (SRUC), the programme is currently funded by Scottish Government & Skills Development Scotland on a pilot basis ending 2021.

'Land-Based Pre-Apprenticeship' (SCQF4)

Class of 2021 Pre-Apprentices (pictured below)



                 Click on the picture below to watch our video of our              Pre-Apprentices in action:



   For any queries contact: Gail Robertson, 01561 376022 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


The pre-apprenticeship provides a meaningful introduction into practical working environments, giving young people an insight into the range of vocational opportunities that the sector can offer through a structured programme of work-based learning.

Pre-Apprenticeship Format:


Programme starts in June with a 3 week induction at SRUC, Aberdeen


Up to £1500 of training, an element tailored to individual needs


26 weeks full-time employment, typically working 40hrs per week on a suitable rural business


Earn while you learn in the rural sector. Payment in accordance with Scottish Agricultural Wages Board (SAWB)


     Working in collaboration with SRUC, the successful applicants undertake a three week residential induction at Craibstone, Aberdeen; that involves a range of activities and certificated training:

  • Certificate of Work Readiness (CWR)
  • Tractor Driving (3 days) + on the road Tractor Driving
  • Rough Terrain Telescopic Forklift (3 days)
  • Emergency First Aid
  • Manual Handling Awareness
  • Health & Safety Risk Assessment
  • Crop Production/Livestock Production (optional modules)
  • Industry visits + Royal Highland Show


Programme Partners

  • SRUC: Provide the facilities for the three week residential induction at the Craibstone campus. SRUC also deliver the SRUC Certificate of work readiness (CWR) together with additional training units.
  • Ringlink Scotland: Provide the day-to-day management of the programme, recruit and support farmer mentors, and provide the training programme for the interns.

For any queries contact: Gail Robertson, 01561 376022 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Leaflet cover






Mentors Required

  • Do you want to support the industries future workforce?
  • Do you want to share your knowledge with others?
  • Do you enjoy encouraging and motivating others?
  • Do you want to benefit from mentoring to meet your own workplace requirements?


We are looking for suitable mentors to support our Pre-Apprenticeship programme; developing young people whilst meeting their own workplace requirements.
It is essential for individual businesses to step up to enable the industry overcome the shortage of skilled workers. We need mentors throughout Scotland, from the Land-based sector, to offer 6 months’ work placements either on a full-time or part-time basis.

If you would like to become a mentor or help support this initiative, please email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 01561 376022 to discuss or request a mentor information pack.

Listen to the podcast featuring one of our mentors,
Judith Stephen, Inch of Arnhall, Edzell...
click on the icon below

Hear from our previous Mentors......podcast-logo


David Smith of Cloffrickford Farm, Ellon (pictured above)

“It was indeed fortunate for me that I contacted the Ringlink to see if I could locate a new young farm worker. 
Lewis quickly picked up how we worked, and with the help of the machinery ring, providing on-farm tuition on tractor maintenance, driving skills and even ploughing as well as animal husbandry, Lewis became a real asset to the farm over the six years. Lewis was promoted to Foreman last year and assists in managing the farm when I’m not available.
It’s important that we keep bringing on young people into the industry. We need to give them an interest in farming and encourage them to be part of the decision-making process.”

David Smith of Cloffrickford Farm, Ellon

“I decided to enrol as a mentor for the Ringlink Apprenticeship Scheme in 2018 to try and encourage young people into the agricultural industry. With good staff becoming increasing difficult to find it seemed like the right step forward. Our placement for the 6 month programme came with various certificates and training so immediately ticked a lot of boxes for us as a company. With an additional fund, he has continued his training specific to our needs as a business but also to his own development. With such a positive outcome from our first placement, I had no hesitation in offering him a full time job (which he accepted!) but also have a second apprentice working with us here at Bruce Farms.”

Kerr Howatson, WP Bruce, Blairgowrie 

“We decided to become a Mentor as we believed we could offer opportunities to a young person, keen and willing to learn about the agricultural industry. Essentially, we offered our intern guidance through a structured scheme, with the support of Ringlink providing additional training certifications. I would definitely recommend the programme to other businesses.”

Scott Mather, W Mather and Sons, Brechin

“It’s a programme that warrants support as we need to do our bit to develop the skills of the next generation. As mentors our role is to primarily provide a safe working environment, guidance and knowledge transfer. I would recommend the scheme to fellow farmers, it’s good having a structured training programme for staff coming through the business. It has provided us with some challenges, stimulated discussion and made us question ‘why we do what we do’.”

Roger Polson, Knock Farm, Huntly

“I volunteered as the scheme is a good way to bring people through the business, train them up and hopefully retain them in the longer term. The programme takes care of the mandatory and legal necessities, overall helping the business.”

Gordon Whiteford, Highland Eggs, Buckie




For any queries or further information please contact:

Gail Robertson: 01561 377790 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it




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