Fife MSP Alex Rowley highlighted the successful Fife Forestry Shared Apprenticeship Scheme delivered by Rural Skills Scotland Ltd, during a question on delivering skills in the rural economy in the Scottish Parliament.

The Labour MSP has also tabled a motion in the Scottish Parliament recognising the success of the pilot and congratulating the apprentices on their successful completion of the scheme.

The pilot scheme is being supported by the Forestry Commission, Big Lottery and Fife Council.

Speaking about the scheme Mr Rowley said: “I recently had the pleasure of meeting young people who had completed the Fife Forestry Shared Apprenticeship Scheme, delivered by Rural Skills Scotland Ltd, a not for profit sharing organisation based in Lochgelly.

"The apprentices had spent time on placements with a variety of public and private sector organisations allowing them to get a wide range of experiences of the world of work".

He added: “The land-based sector needs an injection of new and young talent to keep up with a growing demand for skills, however, the sector comprises mainly micro and small businesses and many of them find it difficult to employ apprentices through existing models.

“More needs to be done to learn from schemes such as this one in order to provide a sustainable mechanism for the future to deliver apprenticeships in the sector.”