SRUC

Molly Beattie

BSc Applied Animal Science, 2016

"I am very happy to engage with people on how exciting the poultry industry is, how advanced it is technologically compared to some other agricultural sectors and the sheer variety of the work that I have in my job."

Read Molly's full story below.

Molly's story

“I was quite naïve about what happens for an egg to go from farm to fork,” says Molly Beattie, who works as a Poultry Officer for the Scottish Government. “I am very happy to engage with people on how exciting the poultry industry is, how advanced it is technologically compared to some other agricultural sectors and the sheer variety of the work that I have in my job.”

Molly’s role is varied and includes undertaking inspections of laying hen arms, packing centres, wholesalers, chick hatcheries and distribution sites, dealing with food safety, food fraud, animal welfare, quality assurance processes - all to ensure that the eggs are fit for human consumption.

Being a SRUC graduate has its advantages: “There is that moment when you are talking with someone on a production site and you say that you studied at SRUC – it has a good reputation, people know about it and may even have studied there themselves – they can see that you and they are on a similar wavelength. It can be a good conversation starter!”

In relation to her degree studies, Molly feels it “was broad and had a really good mixture of practical sessions, visits and lectures which have held me in good stead in my working life.”

And final words of wisdom from Molly: “Agriculture and associated industries need intelligent and forward-thinking teams – SRUC is very well placed to provide these people.”

Kirsty Wilson

BSc Horticulture with Plantsmanship, 2013

"I have probably one of the best jobs in the world. I work in the internationally renowned botanic garden engaging people with plants and developing areas for the future."

Read Kirsty's full story below.

Kirsty's story

You may have seen Kirsty on the BBC’s much-loved Beechgrove Garden, which she joined as a presenter in 2019. However, Kirsty’s ‘main’ job is at the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh (RBGE) where she is the Herbaceous Supervisor.

“I have probably one of the best jobs in the world. I work in the internationally renowned botanic garden engaging people with plants and developing areas for the future.”

Kirsty’s job also involves overseas travel on occasions and in 2019 she undertook her first botanical expedition to China to collect wild plant material.

Prior to her job at the RBGE, Kirsty worked for HRH Prince Charles as a production horticulturalist in his garden at Highgrove; as an internal trainee at America’s top public garden, Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania; and as a glasshouse supervisor at St Andrews Botanical Garden.

“The SRUC course really prepares you for going into the world of horticulture – it teaches you how to grow, maintain and identify plants and design future horticultural spaces.”

Watch Kirsty's alumni profile

Robby Gass

MSc Organic Farming, 2017

"The camaraderie between my fellow students and the staff at the SRUC was very special over the three years of study and it lives on regardless of the distances. The MSc Organic Farming is a game changer. It changed my life!"

Read Robby's full story below.

Robby's story

Robby Gass graduated in 2017 from the SRUC MSc Organic Farming programme and went on to start a successful consultancy business. Robby explains how how instrumental the SRUC distance learning course was to his achievements.

“With more than 25 years of South African conventional and mixed organic farming experience I returned to Scotland in 2013,” said Robbie. “As the newly appointed manager of a horticultural training nursery I also successfully completed the MSc Organic Farming degree in 2017 and the opportunities grew from there. My income grew to a new level, I was given more responsibility with autonomy and opinion was treated with higher regard.”

Robby then went on to create his own business Alba Organics, an independent organic consultancy business. As a consultant he improves the operations of experienced and prospective organic famers with farms of various sizes and types in Britain and in Europe.

“The camaraderie between my fellow students and the staff at the SRUC was very special over the three years of study and it lives on regardless of the distances. The MSc Organic Farming is a game changer. It changed my life!”

Watch Robby Gass talk about Organic Farming at SRUC

Katie Dubarry

BSc (Hons) Agriculture, 2019

"My studies have helped me discover new ways of thinking about how we can influence what is happening in the world on quite major levels."

Read Katie's full story below.

Katie's story

Disillusionment with her career as a beauty therapist led Katie into studying Agriculture at SRUC, despite having little experience in the area. 

“I wanted to learn about how we can live more sustainably, how we produce the things we do and how we consume things,” said Katie. “All of these thought processes combined into an interest in farming and the ways people work the land, but I didn’t know the first thing about it.

“After the first year, I was hooked. As I have worked through, I have discovered all about other aspects I had no idea were part of agriculture.”

Five years after starting on the National Certificate course at SRUC’s Oatridge campus, she graduated with a BSc degree from the Edinburgh campus and – after taking a year out to represent SRUC as vice-president of the Student Association – has now continued her academic career to undertake a PhD.

“My studies have helped me discover new ways of thinking about how we can influence what is happening in the world on quite major levels.”

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