Further education opportunity for people wishing to become a Ghillie

Following on from the announcement by the Dee District Salmon Fishery Board at the River opening ceremony to award a bursary on an annual basis to a young person interested in becoming a Ghillie. The selection process was conducted through a rigorous selection process and the winning recipient was selected from the 30 applicants who submitted an application.

After this process was carried out quite a bit of research was carried out to find suitable courses for people interested in becoming a Ghillie/Gamekeeper in Scotland and the United Kingdom. There are a number of courses that have elements related to Ghillies and Gamekeepers but a generic course to find one that covers both disciplines was required.

I am please to say that there is a new course which has been created by North Highland College in Thurso by David Olds and David Shaw which I have details of:

Sport Fishing & Conservation Course

Course Information: National Certificate (NC) SCQF level 5

Full-time course over 1 academic year (September – June)

Location – Thurso with work placement

Course Lecturers – David Olds, David Shaw, Richard MacNicol & Brian Lyall (NHC staff), & Scott Mackenzie (Fly Fishing Expert)


The primary aim of this qualification is to provide knowledge and skills in sport fishing and conservation which will prepare candidates to apply for a career in sport fishing and related industries. The content of the Units has been chosen to reflect the needs of learners and employers alike. These Units will equip the candidate with the necessary knowledge and skills required to undertake duties and tasks on today’s sporting rivers/estates. The course will operate by ensuring that all students have a work placement on a sporting estate/river and they will attend NHC Thurso for short blocks of study between November – March.

Course Content

Gamekeeping:   Health and Safety Seal Management: Theory
Pest and   Predator Control Seal Management: Practice
Safe Use   of Shotguns and Sporting Rifles Angling Techniques
Gamekeeping:   An Introduction to Public Relations Sport Fishery Conservation: An Investigation
ATV   Operations Aquatic Environments and Water Use
Game   Fishing Bailiff   Training
Manual   Handling (Induction) Work Experience
Information   and Communications Technology First Aid

Entry Requirements

There are no specific recommended entry requirements for this qualification. Entry will be at the discretion of the college. It will be beneficial if candidates have an interest in the following:

  • UK game fish and angling
  • Game sporting activities
  • Activities relating to field sports
  • Safe use of an all terrain vehicle (ATV) or familiarity with skills related to an ATV

The participants also need to be aware of the physical requirements of this course and realise that there is a requirement for a good level of physical fitness.

In stating the access requirements, and in consideration of the subsequent selection and admission to the award, NHC will need to ensure that each prospective candidate has sufficient ability and the appropriate personal qualities to succeed.

Although there are no pre-entry qualifications for this award although it is likely that candidates will have some experience of general fisheries/gamekeeping and gun-handling.

Course Outcomes

Sport Fishing & Conservation – Summary of Unit Outcomes

Work Experience


1 Plan and arrange a work experience placement with limited tutor/trainer support.

2 Carry out allocated tasks during work experience under limited supervision.

3 Work co-operatively with others in the analysis, planning and undertaking work experience.

4 Review the contribution of the knowledge and skills gained through work experience to own personal, social and vocational development.

ATV Operations


1 Carry out pre-safety checks and operations.

2 Identify and describe the function of all controls of an ATV.

3 Operate, ride and drive an ATV.

4 Operate and ride an ATV with a trailer.

Safe Use of Shotguns and Sporting Rifles


1 Handle shotguns and sporting rifles from carrying, loading and discharging.

2 Maintain shotguns and sporting rifles.

3 Describe current legislation relating to certificate application, storage and transportation of shotguns and sporting rifles.

Pest and Predator Control


1 Describe the current legal requirements relating to pest and predator control in the UK.

2 Identify mammalian and avian pest and predator species in the UK.

3 Identify control methods and trap types for pest and predator species in the UK.

4 Carry out a pest and predator control programme in accordance with current legislation and codes of practice.

Gamekeeping: Health and Safety


1 Complete a risk assessment for a game sporting activity.

2 Describe potential hazards and risks faced by lone workers.

3 Demonstrate emergency procedures.

Gamekeeping: An Introduction to Public Relations


1 Describe factors affecting public attitudes towards gamekeeping.

2 Describe when a gamekeeper might have to interact with the public and what they should do.

Game Fishing


1 Identify UK game fish, their ecology and habitat.

2 Identify game fishing tackle and presentation techniques.

3 Identify the current UK angling law associated with game fishing.

4 Conduct rod and line angling methods associated with game fishing.

Sport Fishery Conservation: An Investigation


1 Describe how the authorities govern angling and regulate fish movements.

2 Investigate the fishery management and conservation practices of

Angling Techniques


1 Describe the evolution of angling in the UK.

2 Assess the risks associated with angling activities in a range of aquatic environments.

3 Describe techniques used to catch common UK fish species.

4 Participate in angling experiences, complying with all safety requirements.

Event Organisation


1 Working as a member of a team produce an appropriate plan to be used to organise an event.

2 Negotiate and agree appropriate responsibilities, roles and relationships between team.

3 Contribute to the implementation of the event while working as a member of a team.

4 Review and the effectiveness of own and overall contribution to the planning and running of the event.

Aquatic Environments and Water Use


1 Describe the natural and human influences on water quality.

2 Describe the requirements of water users and the possible impacts of water use on the aquatic environment.

3 Identify the aquatic flora of specified aquatic environments.

4 Identify the aquatic fauna of specified aquatic environments.

Seal Management: Theory


1 Outline the key reasons for seal management in Scotland.

2 Outline the practical activities to be undertaken for effective seal management.

3 Outline the key aspects of relevant legislation relating to the sustainable taking and shooting of seals.

Seal Management: Practice


1 Plan for seal management action.

2 Undertake a practical shooting test for seal management in compliance with legislation.

3 Perform post-shooting procedures to meet legal requirements.

Half Day Emergency First Aid

Course Content

  • Priorities of First Aid
  • Personal Safety
  • Assessing the Situation
  • Assessing the Casualty / Casualties
  • Airway / Breathing / Circulation
  • Sending for Help
  • Recovery Position
  • Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation
  • Control of Bleeding
  • Treatment for Shock
  • Treatment for Burns

 Manual Handling Course

Course Content

  • Employer’s duties
  • Employee’s duties
  • How to manual handle to reduce the risk of injury
  • Back injury/slipped disc
  • Correct posture
  • Variety of lifting techniques
  • Correct foot position
  • Demonstration and practice of the six point lift
  • Manual Handling risk assessment


 Core Skills You will:

  • select and start up application software (for example, word processing,
  • spreadsheet, database, media packages) that is suitable for the activity
  • use on-screen help to assist you
  • enter and edit data using appropriate applications software
  • locate and integrate information from a range of local or remote data
  • sources (for example, the internet, CD-ROM, intranet, your own computer)
  • apply a search strategy to find information (for example, choice of sources,
  • order of searching, choice of keywords)
  • evaluate the information found against a set of criteria you select (for
  • example, for currency, level of difficulty, reliability, bias, relevance,
  • appropriateness of format)
  • evaluate the search strategy (for example, did it produce information that
  • matched your chosen criteria, was it effective in terms of time and cost, did
  • it successfully filter out irrelevant information?)
  • present the information in an appropriate mode (for example, display on
  • screen, print out, play an audio file)
  • keep data secure (for example, keeping your own login and password
  • secure, virus protection, backing up data)

ASFB Bailiff Training

  • Relationship with fishermen
  • Appearance & Equipment
  • Routine
  • Enforcement tactics
  • Use of the Notebook
  • Powers and their implementation
  • Wardens appointed by Scottish Ministers
  • Powers & Procedures
  • Evidence
  • Dealing with offences
  • Reports and their preparation
  • Court procedures

Venue & Contact details

North Highland College, Ormlie Road, Thurso, Caithness, Scotland, UK, KW14 7EE

Tel (+44) 01847 889000

Fax (+44) 01847 889001

Textphone 01847 889180

E-mail: info@northhighland.ac.uk

Web: http://www.northhighland.ac.uk

Email:  David.Olds@thurso.uhi.ac.uk

 Bursaries may be available from NHC


About FishDee

The FishDee blog is your website for snippets and news items coming from the riverbank from anglers, ghillies and local people who have useful news they wish to share. The supporting business infrastructure which supports angling will also be providing items of news that may be relevant to people who have an interest in the River Dee.

Posted on August 5, 2013, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Further education opportunity for people wishing to become a Ghillie.

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