Sine Sozska - Modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture, Fearn Farm

Monday, 8th April 2019

Nineteen-year-old Dornoch resident Sine Soszka has a job most people wouldn’t even think was a possibility. She works as a Shepherd at Fearn Farm near Tain and more than that, she’s loving it.

Sine fell in love with the farm when she arrived to do work experience back in the summer of 2015. However, that was not the start of her journey towards a job in agriculture having been involved in working farms since the age of six.

Her list of daily tasks at Fearn is pretty different to most teenagers at work. From checking the health, food and medical requirements of the sheep in her care to helping with the training of vet students and seasonal workers she is never short of a way to keep busy. During lambing season she is in charge of all the lambing sheep and the staff involved in making sure the season’s newborns are happy and healthy.

Despite her busy schedule Sine has been able to develop a number of skills during her time at Fearn. She completed a Level 3 Modern Apprenticeship in Agriculture which involved on farm training and some days away at college. As part of her apprenticeship she completed courses aimed at all areas of life on a farm including pesticide and pest control, ATV training, trailer test and forklift training. Aside from formal qualifications she has also learnt a lot about the importance of veterinary medicine in livestock, rotational grazing, winter feeding and performance recording.

Sine acknowledges that her job is an unusual one in combining so many varying roles and responsibilities in one place. She also knows that having good communication with working dogs as a job requirement is a little out of the ordinary but a great part of the job nonetheless.

Communicating with dogs isn’t the only skill she has been able to develop at Fearn. Teamwork is essential on a working farm as is an eye for detail and through the high level of support she has received from her colleagues Sine has been able to build on her strengths.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the job for Sine was the sheer number of animals that she gets to work with on the farm. With such a large number and variety of animals she has to be familiar with a range of different care strategies, particularly for winter.   

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Her favourite part of the job is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the time she gets to spend outdoors. There aren’t many jobs that can compete with watching lambs take their first steps overlooking the Moray Firth on a sunny day.

That outdoor time is one of the many reasons she loves living in the Highlands. As well as being able to do what she loves close to home Sine loves the lifestyle that comes with living in an area like Easter Ross saying, “I love living in the Highlands, the people are friendly, there are low levels of crime, I actually quite like the weather and the quality stock in the area that I get to work with is second to none.”

Sine’s exceptional attitude towards her work resulted in an amazing three awards at the 2018 SRUC awards – a CARAS Award, The Agriculture Learner of the Year Award and the Modern Apprentice of the Year Award.

Her advice for anyone considering an apprenticeship? “Go for it, give it a try. If you’re interested in a full time job get work experience to try it out. It might open your eyes to a whole new world of possibilities.”