Students at Scotland’s Rural College have been creating links with Scottish pig producers, and are set to visit the new processing facility in Brechin.
A module on pig production was set up at the SRUC Aberdeen campus following concerns of the small number of skilled workers in the sector.
Working closely with four local producers, Dr Anna Sinclair, Livestock lecturer at Craibstone, arranged for willing students studying for a National Certificate in Agriculture to complete practical on-farm sessions and gain experience of working with pigs in all stages of production, with plans to visit the new facility in Brechin.
Dr Sinclair commented: “For students, gaining practical experience is an invaluable part of their learning at SRUC.
“The time given by farmers and their staff has made it possible for these students to get an introduction into the pig industry.
“We had very positive feedback from all those involved and several would now consider entering into the sector”.
Northeast pig farmer Philip Sleigh, one of those hosting the students, believes the project can have a positive outcome.
He said: “Recruiting staff onto pig farms is an on-going challenge for our sector and this new initiative will hopefully allow these students to see the possibility of a career in pig farming.
“Also with the industry investment at Brechin there is room for some expansion in the Scottish herd, and it may be that a young person could set up their own unit on the family farm.
“Whatever the students decide to do in the future we welcome this opportunity to show these students what modern pig farming is about.’’