Learner of year Fraser on course for career in forestry

Fraser Lothian receives his LANTRA award from Marine Harvest's Owen Davies
Fraser Lothian receives his LANTRA award from Marine Harvest's Owen Davies

A 15-year-old Denholm lad has scooped a national land skills award.

Fraser Lothian, an S4 pupil at the high school, beat off stiff competition to take top prize in this year’s LANTRA awards .

He was presented with the Land-based Curriculum Schools Learner of the Year accolade at a glittering awards ceremony and gala dinner at Dunblane Hydro.

The event was attended by more than 150 guests from industry, education and politics.

In total, 26 awards were presented in 13 categories, including trees and timber, agriculture, aquaculture, equine, horticulture, game and wildlife and land-based engineering.

Fraser started the rural skills course with Borders College earlier this year, and lecturer Andrew Johnston was impressed enough to put him forward for the honour.

Speaking to the Hawick News, Fraser said: “I’m really pleased to have won this award.

“It was quite intimidating, though, as I had to go to Perth to be interviewed by a panel of six people. That was quite tough.”

The rural skills course involves youngsters visiting local farms and agricultural businesses to work with sheep and cattle and they’re also given tasters in fencing and dyking.

“I have enjoyed the course so far and have learned a lot. I like working with sheep and have also been getting some work on a local farm.”

Speaking of his visit to Dunblane Hydro, Fraser added: “I was really nervous. The hall was packed and it was a great night.”

And what of his plans for the future?

“I would like to get an apprenticeship in forestry. That’s what I am aiming for.”

Commenting on his student’s success, Borders College rural skills lecturer Andrew Johnston said: “Fraser is a really good lad. He is a very switched-on and just gets his head down and gets on with things. He thoroughly deserves this award.”

“Borders College have had several finalists in previous years and Fraser is another young lad who has decided that he wants to
pursue a career in the countryside.”

Mr Johnson continued: “Fraser is highly motivated and has already started a business for himself in supplying firewood to local houses.