Local Lad Wins Top Engineering Award

SRUC Barony student Michael Rolfe, 19, is celebrating after Lantra’s Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards ceremony, where he took the top spot in the Land-based Engineering category. The Awards recognise the achievements of individuals, employers and training providers across Scotland.
Michael’s parents were with him at the ceremony at the Dunblane Hydro, and it was a special moment for his dad in particular, as he is also his boss. He admitted that having his son as an employee had been tough. He said: “Truthfully it was really difficult to start with but we found our way. I am really proud of him tonight although in work I do treat him as any other member of staff. It’s up to me to bring the best out in our apprentices.”
As well as working for his dad’s agricultural engineering company Ross of Lanark, Michael is studying on an Extended Diploma course in Land–based Technology Apprenticeship at SRUC’s Barony Campus.
Michael said: “Growing up with my dad working in the industry meant that land-based engineering is almost in my blood and a way of life. I really enjoy it, especially the problem solving aspect when you figure out what is wrong with a machine and then work it through and fix it.”
Talking about SRUC Barony and his tutor Robert Paterson he said: “My tutor was brilliant and I wouldn’t have got through the apprenticeship without him. The staff and students were great and I learnt so much through my classes but I also gained a lot socially which is really important too. The apprenticeship involves block release of four weeks which is great as you really get stuck in and it’s a decent amount of time to get your head around all the new things you are learning. I have learnt that it’s important not to become complacent and never assume you know what the problem is – you always have to be thorough in your work.”
Michael was joined at the ceremony in Dunblane by five students from other SRUC campuses. Just missing out to Michael was Steen Durno (19) who studies at SRUC Oatridge; he was runner up in the Land-based Engineering category. Two other Oatridge students were on the shortlist. Apprentice Fisheries Baliff Ryan Binnie (19) from Stirling won his category – Aquaculture Learner of the Year – while Lorna MacBride (18) from Glasgow was named runner-up in the equine section. Shetlander Liam Anderson (24), who studies horticulture at the Elmwood Campus was runner up in the horticulture category; he also received a CARAS Award, along with Sophie Ward (27), from Angus who studied Agriculture at the Ayr Campus.
Scotland’s Rural College is the national provider of land-based education and training and offers a range of courses from its six campuses in Aberdeen, Elmwood, Oatridge, Edinburgh, Ayr and Barony. Courses range from access through to honours degree and postgraduate studies.

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