Cultivating Leaders is a business programme designed to support some of Scotland's future farmers and leaders by helping them to develop leadership skills, providing training in running a business and fostering industry contacts. Ten SAYFC members, all aged between 18 and 29, completed the six-month programme.
For more information, please go to www.sayfc.org/business-skills.
Johnny Hamilton, 29, from Bathgate
Johnny's decision to take part in the course was extremely timely as he was trying to formulate a plan for his future and that of the family farm: "We were given a presentation called 'The Farming Ladder' by Michael Blanche, a representative of the Nuffield Farming Scholarship.
The presentation made me completely reassess my motivations and goals in farming. My growth plan was extremely ambitious, however the course made me evaluate realistic goals for our business model, and my focus is now on operational excellence and doing the very best with our resources."
Gillian McMillan, 26, from Bute
Gillian urges more young women in the sector to take up the opportunity and apply for the next Cultivating Leaders course. She said: "The programme not only provided an abundance of information, practical skills and business contacts but also I learnt that personal attitude, working to your strengths and good communication skills can all have a huge impact on the success of your career.
"Having completed the course I've changed career paths. I was a milk recorder, but now I'm pursuing a job in cattle scanning, which before the course was merely an idea. The Cultivating Leaders programme provided me with a great amount of support and advice when it came to furthering my career progression in a traditionally male-dominated industry."
Douglas Felming, 24, from Reston
Douglas works full time on the family farm in the Scottish Borders. He said: "Having left university to pursue a career in the farming sector I realised that despite coming from a farming family there were gaps in my agricultural knowledge.
"Before taking part in Cultivating Leaders I was feeling pretty pessimistic about the future of the farming industry given the recent commodity prices and increasing input costs. However, the programme broadened my thinking and allowed me to glean vital knowledge from industry experts. It's been an invaluable experience."