LANGHOLM Academy has collaborated with rural businesses to teach pupils skills such as growing crops, fencing, forestry and auctioneering.
As a result one of the pupils has secured a place on a course at the SRUC Barony Campus near Dumfries.
Allison Little and Sandi Farrer, support workers, organised the rural skills project to enable young people to gain skills in land-based industries with help from Buccleuch Estates, Cochranes Nurseries, C&D Auction Marts in Longtown and Eskdalemuir Forestry.
From a fundraiser last Christmas, which made £500, they bought equipment and necessary protective clothing for the pupils.
With a further donation of £1,000 from Buccleuch Estates, they could buy tools and essential items needed to carry out the tasks.
George Birrell of Eskdalemuir Forestry, which is owned by Kronospan Ltd, donated a shed for the class to store their tools and other essential items.
George said: “Eskdalemuir Forestry is very pleased to support such a worthwhile cause and help towards young people in our community gaining valuable skills for the future.”
At Cochranes Nurseries the pupils learnt about crop production on an industrial level and all aspects of growing from seed from soil content to why they chose certain fruits.
Allison and Sandi organised a visit to the auction mart while a live sheep auction was taking place.
The pupils learnt about the daily workings of a busy auction mart and helped to move the sheep from the pens into the ring, even sell some of the sheep.
Many of the pupils had no previous agricultural experience of working with the animals but showed great enthusiasm for whole industry.
With the help of Barry Paterson, agricultural property manager at Buccleuch Estates, the young people learned about estate maintenance, in particular fencing.
Barry said: “ Both myself and David Nicholson, head forester, enjoyed working with the pupils.
“They showed an interest in the different species of trees and the processes involved and they were keen to use all the hand tools involved in fencing and drainage.
“All pupils (and assistants) were involved in the tasks and in the site specific risk assessment before the start of each task, assess the tools needed and be aware of the environment they were working in.
“It was an enjoyable process for both the estate and the Academy and we hope to continue to work together in the future.”
Kain Wilkinson of Chapelknowe said: “I really enjoyed the opportunities and experience I got doing the rural skills course.
“The experience from this has gained me a place at the Barony College starting in August.”
Allison said: “It’s about giving young people the opportunity to experience different jobs in the rural industries.
“The process has not only given them skills they never thought they had, it’s also had a positive impact on their confidence in themselves and outside of school.”