Crofting and Countryside Skills Certificate (NC Rural Skills) SQA Level 4

What is special about this course?

A fast paced, exciting, enjoyable and very practical multi skills course focusing on rural land practices. Delivers holistic training and includes highly regarded Industry Awards in several disciplines, equipping you well for a rewarding outdoor job, or going on to more specialist study.

The course aims to take a broad approach, introducing you to many different topics, and with a balance of both practical and theoretical work, you will acquire a good range of skills, with a thorough understanding of how and when they should be applied.

Entry requirements

No formal qualifications are necessary, however you should have a keen interest in working in the outdoors, and enthusiasm to embrace the practical skills and principles of land use. You must be reasonably fit, happy to work in all weathers, and able to safely follow instruction in the use of tools and machinery. Basic literacy and numeracy is required, and students should be at least 16. Mature students are very welcome. All candidates will attend an interview.

The course is made up of 18 units, ranging from Habitat Studies and Gardening to Estate Maintenance, Forestry Skills and Working with Livestock.

It includes the opportunity to gain valuable Industry Awards in:

  • Dry Stone Walling,
  • Manual Handling
  • Outdoor First Aid
  • Tree Inspection
  • Bat Awareness
  • Chainsaw Operation
  • Quad Biking
  • Use of Pesticides. (PA1 & 6)

It also helps you improve your communication, numeracy and IT skills, and recognise the need for these in most areas of employment.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

How long will my course last?


 You will attend College 3 days per week, Monday-Wednesday, September to June, with many of these days being  practical days.


Where can I study my course?

    • Broadford

Start date

September

Fees

Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please contact your local college learning centre or Student Services for more information.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to EMA or not. However you must apply for EMA even if you know that you’re not entitled to EMA.

If in any doubt or if you want detailed information, please call student services on 01397 874321.

Funding

Students may also qualify for bursary funding.

Further information on course fees & funding can be found here.

What can I do on completion of my course?

This course is highly thought of by relevant organisations and potential employers, many of whom you will work with during your year with us. It sets you in a strong position to move on to rewarding work in a number of fields, and the Industry Awards gained are very important to employers.

Each year some of our students decide to continue to study in more detail, typically undertaking HNCs or HNDs in Horticulture, Forestry, or Conservation. Some courses can be hosted from West Highland College, or delivered in partnership with other Colleges.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

Daniel Beckey, Crofting and Countryside Skills

I live in Uig in the north of Skye. My family has a croft and I’ve always loved farming, working on the land and looking after sheep and other animals. When I left school I thought this course would be good because I would learn more about something I love and want to be able to do properly.

The course is in Broadford three days a week. I get bus to Broadford and then I stay 2 nights in a nearby hostel and then bus back to Uig.

It’s a great course and I’ve learned so much and I know it will all be useful to me on the croft.

We’ve learned lots of practical skills outside and also useful classroom based things like numeracy and lots of legal detail affecting crofting. The level is good for me and learning about paperwork is very useful. You need to keep budgets and animal records if planning to croft seriously.

We did a three day Crofting Federation Toolkit course early on. There were three speakers and I found it really interesting. There are a lot of technical and legal things that anyone interested in crofting needs to know and this course covered so much. They also gave us a memory stick with all their PowerPoints on it which will be useful in the future.

I like the mixture of practical and classroom activities  - lots of variety.

We’ve had the chance to do some industry certificates too: strimming, chainsaw, pesticides, dry stane walling and fencing. I loved the walling and would like to do more at a higher level and then I could do walling while I am on the croft as another source of income especially in the winter and I could do strimming in the summer. We also learned all about path building and drainage.

One of my favourite things was fencing. The man who taught us had been a fencer for 40 years and he taught me there are no shortcuts! He was so thorough but taught us so well.

I think I will definitely stay in crofting and work to get the croft back to how it was in the glory days. I’ll apply for grants for fencing and drainage and hope to build a house. So much that I’ve learned will be useful for me.

It’s been an absolutely amazing course.

 My family has a croft and I’ve always loved farming and working on the land. I’ve learned so much on this course and I know it will all be useful to me on the croft. We’ve had the chance to do some industry certificates too: strimming, chainsaw, pesticides, dry stane walling and fencing. I think I will definitely stay in crofting and work to get the croft back to how it was in the glory days.

Apply for Crofting and Countryside Skills Certificate (NC Rural Skills) SQA Level 4

We are no longer accepting applications for 2018/19

I want to start in 2019/20

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at West Highland College UHI. West Highland College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.

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