A NEWTON Rigg college tutor has helped secure travel grants to enable students who live in rural areas to complete their training.

Peter Armstrong, a sheep farmer from Kirkoswald, was invited to speak to leading European energy company Vattenfall’s Ray Wind Farm Fund, about the Penrith college’s apprenticeship schemes.

He managed to convince the board to offer financial help in the form of a travel grant for youngsters, easing the burden of travel costs to rural families.

One such young farmer who lives near West Woodburn in Northumberland, is one of 14 students on the course, but must travel between Newton Rigg and its satellite offices at Hexham Mart in order to complete his training.

Sixteen-year-old Lewis Hunter relies on his mother to drive him on his college days and, as mum Caroline, explained: “Lewis is totally committed to the farming life but there is no public transport serving our area, so until he passes his driving test it falls to me or a family member to ferry him to his agricultural lessons.”

Mr Armstrong explained: “Newton Rigg is a fantastic option for apprentice agriculture. The grant is a great plus for students, enabling them to achieve enhanced experience on the programme. It will be of considerable help to farming parents with their young farmers in education.”

Lewis said: “Newton Rigg’s Stockperson Apprenticeship course is very comprehensive and Peter is a first class tutor, ensuring that whatever we learn at home on the farm, is compatible with our Newton Rigg syllabus. The Ray Wind Funds’ help towards travel costs is very welcome while I complete my training.”

Lewis is currently not travelling to Cumbria until the coronavirus pandemic is over.