Children learn how to run an estate in bid to tackle rural skills gap

Youngsters across the north east have been learning skills such as fishing and sheep shearing as part of the scheme.

Youngsters have been finding out first hand what it’s like to run some of Scotland’s estates, as part of a scheme to tackle the rural skills gap.

Around 2,000 school pupils are set to take part in the Estates That Educate project in the north east over the coming weeks.

It sees them try their hand at things like fishing and sheep shearing.

“Living in the countryside and our children going to school and realising the disconnect that more urban areas have with the countryside,” said Lianne MacLennan from Scotland’s Regional Moorland Groups.

Organiser Lianne MacLennan says 2000 youngsters are set to take part in the project

“It’s about just being really passionate about where we live, the jobs we carry out.

We wanted to further educate people on the different opportunities that are out here.”

At nearly 20,000 acres, there’s a lot to see at Millden Estate in the Angus Glens.

The initiative started in 2016 with just eight children. Now 2,000 are expected to turn out across various estates in the coming weeks.

For most children, it’s their first experience of a rural working life.

Organisers hope it’s not their last.

In October last year, a survey of Scotland’s rural employers found 55% felt their ability to attract new talent was a risk to their business.

Children watch sheep being herded

“Some of them, even on the way here were talking about their future and what they’d like to do,” said primary teacher Naomi Bell.

“Perhaps some of them would like to become keepers or even land management.

“So, looking ahead to the future but also helping them understand all we can get from our countrysides.”

Further events will take place across a variety of Scottish estates over the next five weeks.

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