Beginning of my FE to HE Journey
I started my journey with SRUC when I applied to do my National Certificate in Agriculture in 2012 at the Barony Campus. As I am not from a farming background and did not have any higher’s I was sceptical as to whether or not I would be accepted, but I was determined to give it a try! I had left school in 2010 and moved up to the Isle of Muck and spent a year on the farm (which has 600 sheep and approximately 50 luing cattle), it didn't take me long to start looking at what I could do to get into the Agriculture industry.
Why Barony Campus
Barony appealed to me mainly because I wanted more varied practical experience in different agricultural enterprises and the farm at Barony has: dairy, sheep, deer and some arable; so it ticked pretty much all the boxes as far as diversification is concerned.
The course itself consisted of half a day spent in the classroom and the other half spent on the farm doing general jobs such as de-budding calves, sorting sheep, dosing cattle, bedding stock and ploughing. We also got the opportunity to dress tups for sale, train and show dairy heifers and take part in the Hartbush monitor farm.
For me these experiences were invaluable because they were things I would never normally get the chance to do and had never done before so I really enjoyed giving them a go. The theoretical side of the course covered all aspects of agriculture at a basic level and you were continuously assessed by: small short answer exams, reports, on-line activities using Moodle and practical identification tests; this made it easier to successfully progress through the course as you are using what you do in the practical’s to back up what you learn in the classroom.
After my year at Barony, I decided to go on to do the 4 year degree course at the Edinburgh SRUC campus. I chose to move to Edinburgh because I knew that I wanted to get a degree and although current the highest level Barony offers goes to Higher National Certificate (HNC) level. The application has to go through the dreaded UCAS, but after that it was really easy to organise and everything gets processed very quickly.
The degree course takes you through Higher National Certificate (HNC), Higher National Diploma (HND) and then 2 years at degree level. It is theory based but you do go on a lot of trips and visits to base your reports on. So far I am really enjoying it, although I do miss having the farm at Barony Campus on my doorstep to use as a resource as well as a place to have a laugh and pick up advice, knowledge and tips from the farm staff.
I’m glad I applied to Barony before going into a degree course because it has given me a good grounding that I wouldn't have got otherwise, especially as I don't have a farm in the family. After I finish my degree, I currently do not have any fixed plans; I hope to go travelling for a year and then see what happens! I am thinking of going into nutrition or management but that could all change as I go through the course.
You Won't Know Unless You Go
For anyone unsure if they should start a course with SRUC, my advice would be to go the open days, look around, ask questions, think about what industry you want to go into and where you want it to take you - and then just go for it! You will never know unless you apply!
By: Hannah Haig (NC Agriculture 2012-13)