This course is designed to attract 16-19 year olds who may have required additional help while at School/College, who enjoy and have an interest in hands-on land-based subjects and would like to develop their knowledge in this area.
Generally you must be 16 years of age or over. Entry is by interview. No formal qualifications required but you must show a desire to commit to the course.
What you'll learn
The majority of the course has practical work that would be useful for a career in the outdoors. From building sheds and fences to planting trees and driving tractors.
You will also participate in an enterprise activity that raises money for the class to go on a residential trip, gaining insight into how to manage a business, from advertising to basic accountancy.
The course will help you develop a CV and give opportunities for work experience in the real world.
Field trips, practical work and working with partner organisations with help develop knowledge and skills.
Example modules include:
Tree and Shrub Planting
Species and Habitats: an Introduction
Constructing Rural Features
Basic Tractor Operations
Small Powered Machinery Operations
Aquaculture: An Introduction to Finfish Production
Forestry in Britain
Arthur came to SRUC to study Rural Skills having struggled to find his passion professionally.
“My favourite part of the course was the practical nature. I’ve always loved working with my hands and it formed a great basis for what I’ve gone on to do since, it has helped me with aspects of my current HNC. Ultimately, the course was fun and the support from staff was fantastic, I felt so at home in my surrounding and this ultimately made me work harder and enjoy the work more.”
Arthur eventually wants to become a park ranger in one of Scotland’s many national parks.
"It was a life changing experience for me; it gave me a focus and something to work towards."
Meet the Lecturer
Fergal joined SRUC in 2012 as the Aquaculture Learning Centre Manager. Before moving to Scotland, he was Freshwater Farms Manager in the Irish Salmon Farming industry and also worked on wild salmon conservation projects.
He is currently the course tutor for Rural Skills and also teaches classes in Animal Care and Engineering.
“What I like most about being an Instructor at the Barony is the diversity of the courses available and the people who take them.”
Tony is based at Elmwood and has worked at SRUC since 2012, first in the Horticulture department, then in the Environment and Countryside department where he’s a tutor for the Rural Skills and Land Based Studies courses. He also teaches on the NC and HNC Wildlife and Conservation courses.
Prior to SRUC, Tony worked as a Ranger in Fife and Tayside for 30 years and is currently Treasurer for the Scottish Countryside Rangers' Association, having been Chair, Vice-chair and International Representative in the past.
MSc. Environmental Forestry
Philip has worked in forestry for twenty years and has a background in forest research.
Before joining SRUC at our Barony Campus to teach forest ecology and GIS, Philip ran a horse logger business in North Scotland focusing on low impact timber extraction. He then moved to SE Asia to work in sustainable development and community-based forest management. This included working of mangrove reforestation and restoration, and sustainable ecotourism.
PgDip Environmental Forestry
Joe gained degrees in Anthropology and Environmental Forestry before deciding academia wasn’t for him.
He began working as a horticultural gardener at a country park, where he learned he loved working with nature. From there he moved into arboriculture, and discovered that he also loves climbing trees. He describes it as "something he fell into, but hopefully won't fall out of".
Joe enjoys learning new ways of working and passing that learning on.
Full-time students of NC Rural Skills can apply for a Further Education Bursary.
Once you’ve accepted a place, we’ll email the bursary funding online application. Complete the application and return it along with any required documents. You should apply even if you're still waiting for exam results.
Tuition fees are waived for students who qualify for a bursary.
More information about funding your course
Find out more about your payment options for this course in our fees and funding section
Care experienced bursary: Any care experienced students studying full time can apply for a bursary of around £202.50 per week. Find out more from our student funding teams at registryfunding@SRUC.ac.uk
Education Maintenance Allowance: Students between the ages of 16-19 who meet specific criteria may be entitled to an EMA. This means-tested allowance depends on the income of the home the student stays in.