The Pre-Apprenticeship programme was introduced by Ringlink Scotland in June 2013. Since securing funding from the Scottish Government in 2018, the programme has now been rolled out nationally. Tarff Valley was initially allocated 7 places for students, and this has now increased to over 20 places for 2022/23. The programme has been accredited by SRUC and acts as a stepping stone for a young person to get into the industry of their choice.

With the current average age of a farmer being 59, the effort to attract a skilled young workforce is becoming a tough task.

However, Tarff Valley sees this as a chance to champion the land-based sector and offer something to youngsters who are keen to become involved. By following this pathway of progression, the Pre-Apprentice gains a Land-based Pre-Apprenticeship award (SCQF Level 4) and gives the candidates scope for moving into Modern Apprenticeships or full-time employment.


The aims of the programme is to prepare young people for a career within the rural sector and offer a guided and well supported learning programme.

By having a well-structured, 26-week, fully paid placement, it’s giving young people the opportunity to sample different aspects of the industry and they can ‘earn whilst they learn’. If the candidate requires specific training in the area in which they work (e.g. forestry), up to £1500 of training will be offered for extra courses.


Three Week Induction (out with 26-week work placement)

Successful applicants undertake a three-week induction period starting in June or January which will involve a range of activities including training and industry related visits.

The Work Placement

After the three-week induction, Pre-Apprentices take up their placement with a predetermined mentor. The work placement is fully paid, 40 hrs per week on a farm or suitable rural business. Up for £1500 of training will be offered to each candidate.


Once the Pre-Apprentices have completed their 26-week placement, there will be a graduation ceremony where they will receive their certificate of completion awarded by Tarff Valley.