Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) is providing Fife’s young people with a unique opportunity to enter the gamekeeping profession, according to the MP for North East Fife.
North East Fife MP Wendy Chamberlain, who was elected in December last year, paid a visit to SRUC’s Elmwood Campus in Cupar to tour the gamekeeping facilities, visit the local estate managed by college’s gamekeeping department and meet with the staff and student gamekeepers.
The visit provided Ms Chamberlain with a unique insight to one of Scotland’s most traditional – and often misunderstood – professions, allowing her to learn more about the preparation of deer carcasses, gamebird rearing and the positive impacts of shoot management on biodiversity. She was also able to spend time with the student gamekeepers and hear from them about the rigorous vocational training delivered at SRUC.
As part of the visit, Ms Chamberlain put up a birdbox – which was donated by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) – on the local estate managed by the students and staff.
Speaking on completion of the visit, Ms Chamberlain said: “I have really enjoyed my visit to SRUC’s Elmwood Campus today, and I applaud the gamekeeping department for offering such rigorous and comprehensive training to the next generation of Scotland’s gamekeepers.
“SRUC’s Elmwood Campus provides a gateway of opportunity to prospective gamekeepers in Fife and beyond, and it is so important that we give our young people the chance to access professions like gamekeeping which are integral to rural Scotland. I’m pleased to support them as their MP and look forward to working with them in future.”
Jim Goodlad, who is a lecturer in gamekeeping and wildlife management at the Elmwood campus, said: “It was a pleasure to be able to host our local MP, and to showcase the important vocational training undertaken by Scotland’s gamekeepers. We strive to provide our students with a unique experience, allowing them to get ‘hands on’ with our recently refurbished facilities and on the local estate that we manage. It was great to give Wendy an insight to the workings of our department, and we hope to welcome her back again soon.”
Ross Ewing, BASC’s political and press officer in Scotland who organised Ms Chamberlain’s visit, said: “It is so important that our elected representatives understand and appreciate rural professions like gamekeeping, which are often subjected to unwarranted attacks fuelled by disinformation. It is thanks to colleges like SRUC that gamekeepers have the required skills to help our most treasured wildlife thrive while simultaneously providing rich and nutritious game for the food chain.
“BASC’s birdbox project highlights the strong link that exists between gamekeeping and the conservation of other wildlife, in particular songbirds.”