New gamekeeping recruits in high demand

Head Keeper Graham Mabon with Savio Genini.
Head Keeper Graham Mabon with Savio Genini.

Interest in gamekeeping as a vocation is flying high according to reports coming from Scotland’s leading rural colleges.

Lecturers at North Highland College (UHI), SRUC Elmwood Campus (Cupar) and Borders College, gamekeeping and wildlife management courses are experiencing strong demand from sporting estates for recently qualified gamekeepers and modern apprenticeships.

David Olds, lecturer from North Highland College, said: “Our modern apprenticeship course is a great springboard for those keen to get into the industry, offering a combination of work-based and college training whilst providing the dual benefit of students gaining a nationally recognised qualification and work experience during placements on an estate.

“We have worked tirelessly on promoting a better understanding of the role modern gamekeepers play and feedback from estate owners is that the skills obtained by our students on the modern apprenticeship, HNC and NC courses are an essential part of equipping the next generation of gamekeepers to manage our countryside.”

Jim Goodlad, gamekeeping and wildlife management lecturer at SRUC Elmwood, said: “Demand for our gamkeeping NC course is extremely high and having received more than 70 applications for 20 places, we are fully subscribed for the new term. This year we had nine students gaining full-time jobs across a variety of gamekeeping disciplines, as well as many attaining seasonal placements – a great success rate given that many of the remaining students are going on to further education.”

At a time when most recent graduates are assessing their job prospects, gamekeeping graduate Savio Genini has been successful in gaining employment on a Scottish grouse moor. Savio, 19, grew up in Kingussie and has been working on Pitmain Estate as a modern apprentice since 2013. This led to him undertaking the National Certificate in Gamekeeping from North Highland College and was the overall winner of the Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Award 2016 from LANTRA Scotland, as well as being joint winner of the Game and Wildlife Learner of the Year Award.

Savio said: “I am passionate about gamekeeping and the work that gamekeepers do in their local communities. I grew up working as a beater in the summer and I knew it was always something that I wanted to do. I love working with the grouse and deer in this beautiful scenery.”