Start-up School Case Study: Cara Cameron, Lochview Rural Training

Lochview Rural Training

Nestled between the moor and Loch Shin, Lairg is typical of crofting communities. It retains close ties to the land, and a strong sense of community. And as with many places in the Highlands, it's constantly trying to work out how to retain more young people in the community.

Cara Cameron crofts in the hills above the village. She epitomises the enterprising and innovative spirit that has enabled Lairg to sustain itself, often against all the odds. She enjoyed supporting others in a job in the Community Learning Centre before realising her passion lay in the land…

Speechmarks TealI am creating a learning facility that provides rural learning, training and career opportunities across the rural industries and for all age groups, but with an emphasis on young people. The learning will not only be focused on agriculture, but about the whole panoply of rural activities, skills, training and career opportunities across all industries - from working with animals to environmental sustainability. Learning and resources will be practical and closely linked to the Curriculum for Excellence, SQA and incorporating employability skills. It is vital that in Caithness & Sutherland we consider the implications of youths moving away and the impact this is having on our ageing populations. We are also at a critical point in time where we are seeing a decline in skills relating to rural industry and land based roles. Also with the current Covid - 19 situation we now have young people that are choosing not to leave the area but have problems accessing rural training as no provision is being provided.

Thanks to the Social Enterprise Academy I was sign posted onto the Start - up School program, this has been a very effective and supportive program with 1-1 mentoring and a range of very valuable webinar courses, the program has given me the confidence and the support to drive my social enterprise project forward with us launching in April 2021.”

Cara also received £5k funding from Firstport to help get her idea off the ground. Find out more about the Firstport funding here.


The Social Business Start-up School is now available to people planning or starting a ‘social business anywhere in the Highlands & Islands area:

Contact us speech bubble David2If you have any questions about this programme or how the Academy can support your learning and development, please contact:

David Bryan,



This programme is delivered in partnership with Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) and The Support Network for Social Entrepreneurs (SuNSE).

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