Lantra launches MA Connections service

Modern Apprentice Ryan Paxton at Buccleuch near Selkirk
Norette Ferns

A new service has been launched to make it easier for employers and potential employees in the Scottish agricultural industry to get in touch with each other.

By matching up jobs and job seekers in a single database, Lantra's MA Connections service aims to save farmers and trainees time and effort.

Supported by NFU Scotland and the Scottish Government, MA Connections is a free and confidential service for farmers looking for new employees and for people seeking more information about careers in agriculture through a Modern Apprenticeship.

Richard Lochhead, Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Food and the Environment, said:

“The importance for young people to see agriculture as a rewarding, fulfilling career is unquestionable. A vibrant Scottish farming industry will only be secured by attracting young talented entrepreneurs.

“But opportunities need to exist. Modern Apprenticeships play a big part in the Scottish Government’s pledge to support youth employment and I welcome this initiative from Lantra and its partners as a means to promote awareness, understanding and uptake of Modern Apprenticeships in agriculture.”

Modern Apprentices are employees who are paid a wage and learn from the skills and experience of people around them while gaining skills and working towards a nationally recognised Scottish Vocational Qualification. Employers, employees and training providers work together in partnership and Modern Apprenticeships typically take from one to three years to complete.

Training takes place through Borders College, SRUC, Orkney College UHI and Train Shetland in Scotland, and helps the employees to get a wider understanding of their job.

Kevin Patrick, Director, Lantra Scotland said:

“Against the backdrop of an ageing workforce, MA Connections is designed to help improve the quality and impact of new entrants to a vibrant, diverse and increasingly technical agricultural industry in Scotland. Lantra, with strong support from NFUS and the wider farming industry, has helped develop Modern Apprenticeships to provide a high quality, work-based route to a rewarding career in agriculture.

“We’re delighted to be launching MA Connections, which will help raise awareness and understanding of what’s involved, and link farmers with potential apprentices. Farmers will benefit from enthusiastic and committed new entrants, apprentices will benefit from the skills and experience of their employers, and both will benefit from the support and guidance of experienced training providers.

“Whether you want to get your career off to a great start or provide a boost for your business, visit our MA Connections website now to find out more.”

John Glen, Chief Executive, Buccleuch Estate said: “We have been taking on Modern Apprentices on our farms for nearly ten years now, so understand the value to our business and to the wider rural community of employing people in this way."

The first phase of MA Connections will focus on Modern Apprenticeships in Agriculture, and may be expanded to include other land-based and aquaculture industries in the future.

Lantra also plans to pilot a multi-employer Modern Apprenticeship scheme enabling apprentices to gain hands-on work experience across different farms, helping them to gain wider industry experience to meet the needs of their college assessments.

To find out more about MA Connections watch the video below, call 01738 646762 or visit