Lantra Scotland reveal winners of ALBAS 2021

Niall Provan overall winner ALBAS 21 -Lantra
Katharine Johnston

The winners of Lantra Scotland’s ALBAS (Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills) were announced on Thursday 4th March at a special virtual ceremony.

Employers, colleges, trainees and their families joined the online event which was hosted by Liz Barron-Majerik, Director of Lantra Scotland and Jim Smith, well-known Perthshire farmer and stand-up comedian. The awards were officially opened by Cabinet Secretary for Finance Kate Forbes, who praised the nominees for continuing to develop their skills and helping to drive forward their rural communities, making them sustainable places to live, work and thrive.

Rural industries covered were agriculture, animal care, aquaculture, equine, environmental conservation, horticulture, land-based engineering and trees and timber.

As well as prizes for Overall Winner, Runner-up and Modern Apprentice of the Year, there was the Anna Murray Award for Partnership Working, awards for Higher Education, School Pupil and Secondary Schools, CARAS (Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies), Jean’s Jam for inspirational tutor and the Tam Tod Trophy for outstanding young learner.

One of the highlights of the evening was environmental conservation apprentice Niall Provan becoming the Overall Winner for the ALBAS, the highest accolade of the night. Niall also won the Environmental Conservation industry award, the Modern Apprenticeship Award and the Tam Tod Trophy, on what was a highly successful night for the young man.

21-year-old Niall from Tillicoultry has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship in Rural Skills at the Callander Youth Project Trust, through SRUC Oatridge.

He said: “My interest in environmental conservation started from a young age. I’ve always been interested in exploring the countryside, climbing hills, and knowing how landscapes formed. I took the first steps towards working in the industry by studying Countryside Management at SRUC. After achieving my NC and HNC, I was able to find my way into the apprenticeship with the Callander Landscape Partnership, which has been an amazing first role in the industry.”

The ALBAS Overall Runner-up was Callum Duggan, aged 25 from Kilmun in Argyll & Bute. Callum also picked up the Aquaculture industry award and a CARAS award. He has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship at Level 7 in Aquaculture at Cooke Aquaculture, through the NAFC Marine Centre.

He said: “I was surprised and grateful to be nominated for an ALBAS. I’m relishing my current role helping run the site, as I’ve always been interested is fish management. I really enjoy my role and take satisfaction from the site running smoothly, with progress and improvements being made.”

The Anna Murray Partnership Working Award, now in its second year, was won by the Growing Rural Talent project in the South of Scotland. The organisations involved provide funding and support to address gaps in the accessibility and availability of training in key areas of the rural economy, including forestry, agriculture and horticulture.

The three winners of the prestigious CARAS (Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies) awards were: Callum Duggan, Ian Armstrong and Lucy Philip. CARAS was established by the UK’s four national agricultural societies, including the Royal Highland & Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS) to recognise distinguished achievements in agriculture and related land-based industries.

RHASS also supports a Secondary Schools Award in recognition of schools with exceptional standards in rural skills training. The winner this year was Meldrum Academy in Aberdeenshire, with Falkirk High School taking up the runner-up spot.

The Higher Education Award Winner at Award at SCQF Level 7–8 was Lucy Philip, aged 22 from Bonnyrigg. Higher Education Award at SCQF Level 10 winner was Ian Armstrong, aged 22 from Inverurie. Lucy has been doing a Modern Apprenticeship Level 3 in Agriculture at Carcant Farm, through Borders College, while Ian has been doing a BA (Hons) in Rural Business Management at SRUC Craibstone.

Jean’s Jam Award, for an inspiring mentor or trainer, went to Julie McCrorie. Julie is a specialist teacher in Rosshall Academy’s visual impairment unit and worked on delivering the NPA in Horticulture with Glasgow Clyde College. The prize was donated by training instructor Elspeth Watson in memory of her friend Jean Costello.

The Tam Tod Trophy went to Niall Provan, the Overall ALBAS Winner. This award is made in association with Countryside Learning Scotland to an outstanding young learner and was created in memory of the late Tam Tod, described as a well-loved gamekeeper, ghillie and lifelong friend of the countryside.


ALBAS 2021 winners and runners-up:

  • ALBAS Overall Winner

    • Niall Provan (21 from Tillicoultry)

  • ALBAS Overall Runner-up

    • Callum Duggan (25 from Kilmun)

  • Modern Apprentice of the Year

    • Niall Provan

  • Agriculture Learner of the Year

    • Winner: Shauna Murdie (20 from Jedburgh)

    • Runner-up: Amy Lochhead (18 from North Berwick)

  • Aquaculture Learner of the Year

    • Winner: Callum Duggan (25 from Kilmun in Argyll & Bute)

    • Runner-up: Guy Tindall (41 from Burra in Shetland)

  • Environmental Conservation Learner of the Year

    • Winner: Niall Provan

  • Equine Learner of the Year

    • Winner: Morag Williams (37 from Pathhead, Mid-Lothian)

    • Runner-up: Kimberly Gallacher (21 from Greenock)

  • Animal Care

    • Winner: Susan Turner (54 from Galashiels)

  • Horticulture Learner of the Year

    • Winner: Maureen Brown (33 from Galashiels)

    • Runner-up: Natalia Reifart-Bieganowska (33 from Paisley)

  • Land-based Engineering Learner of the Year

    • Winner: Robbie Gray (18 from Lanark)

    • Runner-up: Reiss Gordon (20 from Kirkcaldy)

  • Trees and Timber Learner of the Year

    • Winner: Alex Patterson (21 from Blairgowrie)

    • Runner-up: David McMillan (26 from Tomatin)

  • Higher Education

    • SCQF Level 7-8 Winner: Lucy Philip (22 from Bonnyrigg)

    • SCQF Level 10 Winner: Ian Armstrong (22 from Inverurie)

  • Secondary Schools Award

    • Winner: Meldrum Academy

    • Runner-up: Falkirk High School

  • NPA Skills for Work School Pupil Award

    • Winner: Matthew Houston (18 from Rosshall Academy in Glasgow)

    • Runner-up: Martin Collie-Stewart (18 from Rosshall Academy in Glasgow)

  • Anna Murray Partnership Working Award

    • Winner: Growing Rural Talent in the South of Scotland

  • CARAS Award winners

    • Callum Duggan

    • Ian Armstrong

    • Lucy Philip

  • Jean’s Jam Award

    • Winner: Julie McCrorie

  • Tam Tod Trophy

    • Winner:  Niall Provan

The ALBAS are organised by Lantra Scotland, the sector skills council for the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation industries.

According to Lantra’s Scotland Director, Liz Barron-Majerik, there were some fantastic entries for the ALBAS, and everyone who was nominated should be very proud of their achievements.

She continued: “This time last year the ALBAS were very different, but I’m delighted we’ve still been able to honour Scotland’s top learners in 2021. It’s been a challenging year for many in our sector, but we’re focusing on the future and recognising the work of some of our key workers and learners.

The ALBAS are a very effective way of highlighting their success, and of getting employers involved in growing the next generation of talent.

As well as the generous sponsors of our event, I’d also like to thank Keith Paterson and his team of independent judges, who commit an enormous amount of unpaid time to reviewing the nominations and interviewing short-listed candidates”.

To see a recording of the ALBAS, visit or