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Education award win is just ACES. An aquaculture student from the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS UHI) has won a top prize at the Lantra Scotland Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2019.

Andrew Richardson, who flew in from Crete to attend the ceremony, was among 250 guests at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Dunblane Hydro on Thursday, March 7 and he left with the Higher Education Learner of the Year prize.

The 26 year old, who is originally from the Isle of Skye, is currently studying on an Erasmus Mundus Joint Masters Degree in Aquaculture, Environment and Society (ACES) through SAMS UHI.

The course involves study at two other European institutes and at the University of Crete Andrew is currently investigating the introduction of insect protein into the diets of juvenile sea bass, with the help of French insect producer Innovafeed.

As well as excelling on his course, he was recently elected as one of only two national co-ordinators in Scotland for the European Aquaculture Society Student Group, and is an active member of the Sustainable Oceans Alliance.

Andrew said: “It is a special feeling and really validating to have received the award last night. I was also pleased to be able to promote the MSc I am lucky enough to be a part of.

“It was also a great opportunity to be surrounded by a range of industry representatives and academics.”

The annual awards ceremony, now in its 17th year, celebrates the talents of the country’s top land-based and aquaculture students, trainees and Modern Apprentices.

Host for the evening was well-known Perthshire farmer and stand-up comedian, Jim Smith, who went on to present the winners and runners-up awards for agriculture, animal care, aquaculture, environmental conservation, equine, horticulture, game and wildlife, land-based engineering and trees and timber categories.

Runner-up in the Higher Education award was another University of the Highlands and Islands student, 21-year-old Isla Campbell from Strathpeffer in Ross-shire. Isla is doing a BSc in Forest Management with Arboriculture and Urban Forestry through The Scottish School of Forestry at Inverness College UHI.

And to cap of a fantastic night for the university, Inverness College UHI student Janis Brivkalns was joint winner of the night’s overall award. Janis is a modern apprentice in aquaculture with The Scottish Salmon Company.

Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year Awards 2019, winners:

Overall Winners of the Land-based and Aquaculture Learner of the Year – Amy Park and Janis Brivkalns; Modern Apprentice of the Year – Janis Brivkalns; Agriculture Learner of the Year – Amy Park; Animal Care Learner of the Year – Lauren Attwood; Aquaculture Learner of the Year – Janis Brivkalns; Environmental Conservation Learner of the Year – Luke Taylor; Equine Learner of the Year – Aimee MacRae; Game and Wildlife Learner of the Year – Cameron MacLean Horticulture Learner of the Year – Tyler Tovey; Land-based Engineering Learner of the Year – Don Martin; Trees and Timber Learner of the Year – Kyle Baker; Higher Education Learner of the Year – Andrew Richardson; Secondary Schools Award – Lockerbie Academy; School Pupil Award – Chloe Reid; CARAS Award Winners – Amy Park, Erica Taylor, Harry Hamlin-Wright, Isla Campbell; Jean’s Jam Award – Morag Higgins; Tam Tod Trophy – Toni Lamont