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Stackyard News Apr 07

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    Rural Skills to Broaden Student Horizons

Fancy swapping maths and history and having a go at sheep shearing, tractor driving or dry stone walling? …. then the Yorkshire Agricultural Society is offering bursaries to enable young people to do exactly that.

A student from Nidderdale High School getting to grips with dry stone walling as a result of the Society's bursaries in 2006

dry stone walling

Some six bursaries are available for students aged 14 – 16 years studying in North or East Yorkshire who are interested in developing countryside based skills with a view to either further education or a career in the rural or agricultural sector.

“We launched the bursaries last year and they were a huge success,” said Chief Executive, Nigel Pulling. “It's an opportunity to raise awareness amongst young people of the land based careers which are available, and make it possible for them to “have a go” and see if it's for them.”

The Yorkshire Agricultural Society is best known as the organiser of the two flagship country and farming events, the Great Yorkshire Show each July and the Countryside Live Food and Farming Fair in October. At both rural skills are very much an important element of the timetable.

“Encouraging young people to live and work in the countryside is an extremely important factor in keeping rural areas vibrant,” said Mr Pulling. “We see this through our work with our Growing Routes initiative which supports young entrepreneurs. Broadening our brief to include younger people fits in totally with our on-going support for the countryside – each year we give nearly £1m, and this is an extension of that commitment.”

Last year Year 10 students from Nidderdale High School & Community College near Pateley Bridge, spent a week trying their hands at a range of activities – from floristry to mowing and strimming to tractor driving, sheep shearing and dry stone walling. As a direct result, two students, Robert Bishop and Daniel Elliot will go on to Askham Bryan College near York to take full time courses in horticulture and grounds maintenance.

Mr Geoff Liggins, Senior Teacher at Nidderdale High School said: “Our Rural Skills Week was hugely successful and the bursary given by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society was an important factor in that. All the courses were quickly filled and were very much enjoyed. One of the key aims was to demonstrate that there are employment and business opportunities in Nidderdale for those with land based skills, and this was certainly achieved. Several students already had some experience of tractor driving, but it not only increased their skills' level, but also gave them a much better understanding of the health and safety issues involved in working with machinery.”

For further details on the bursaries, please contact Hazel Baker, Education Adviser on 01423 546230 or . The deadline for entries is Friday 20 July 2007.

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Yorkshire Agricultural Society