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RAVENSCRAIG Park, Kirkcaldy is about to get a new tenant, with Rural Skills Scotland (RSS) having recently secured a lease for part of the walled garden at the east end of the park. Supported by Business Gateway, Fife Council and Social Investment Scotland, the final approval of the lease allows the company to invest in the site over the coming years.

Initially set up in the Levenmouth area, RSS is a not-for-profit sharing company who has been operating from Fife for over seven years, specialising in the delivery of SVQs and Modern Apprenticeships across the country in land-based subjects, such as trees and timber, estate maintenance and environmental conservation. More recently, RSS set up a not-for-profit sharing contracting company delivering forestry and estate maintenance service to both the public and private sector in Fife using experienced staff whilst also employing their first Apprentice.

Much of the recent focus has been on the establishment and delivery of two employability projects based in Kirkcaldy and South-West Fife. Stewart Christie, Director at RSS, said,

“The whole land-based industry is facing significant challenges in securing the workforce required to meet the targets the industry has set itself. Recent challenges have come from a skills gap left by European nationals affected by Brexit, increased tree planting targets brought about by greater awareness of the crucial role tree play in carbon mitigation. Finally, the age profile in the sector continues to rise. We are now having to work much harder to raise awareness, attract, train and employ people into the sector.”

Business Gateway Fife adviser, Stephen Mitchell commented, “We have been able to support Stewart with investment grant applications, HR advice and our financial support to business grants and he has also received wider support from Economic Development through opportunities to attend events. Stewart and his team are doing an excellent job, providing youngsters who have a passion for working outdoors with the necessary skills, while also filling a skills gap in the sector.”

Whether thinking of starting a business or looking to grow or sustain an existing business, contact Business Gateway Fife on 01592 858333 for a variety of advice and support or visit