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Figures from Scotland’s three key colleges offering gamekeeping courses have shown that young keepers leaving education to secure jobs on shooting estates last year are bucking the UK unemployment trend for young people.

North Highland College UHI, in Thurso, has revealed that all 13 of its Higher National Certificate (HNC) graduates have gone into employment on sporting estates — a college record. In contrast, figures from the Department for Education show that across the UK, one million youngsters (one-in-six of those aged 16 to 24) is considered “NEET” — not in education, employment or training. That figure has risen consistently for the past five years.

At Scotland’s Rural University College, Elmwood Campus, 14 of the 20 National Certificate students gained employment on sporting estates, while half of the 12 full-time HNC students at Borders College went straight into jobs managing the landscape for fieldsports.

The rest of this article appears in the 16th January issue of Shooting Times.

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