New gamekeeper training courses to take place

New accredited training programmes for gamekeepers across the country are being held in Scotland this spring.

In 2021 and in response to the increased importance of best practice and the British Game Assurance (BGA) Scheme, St David’s Game Bird Services devised a new, accredited, Gamekeeper Training Programme to help Gamekeepers, across the country, to maintain standards and become certified under new auditing standards.

St David’s have announce new two Scottish dates for 2022. With the new code from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs as the guideline, the BGA implemented both the new set of Shoot Standards and the more recent Game Farm Audits.

This effort worked alongside the Game Farmers Association with a mind to ensure that any BGA assured products will have been sourced from a supplier following best practice and with high welfare standards.

The Gamekeeper Training Programme, comprised of learning objectives developed by key members of the St David’s Game Bird Services team and leading members of the shooting and veterinary community, consists of three modules covering the three main phases of a game bird’s life:

1. Breeding Flocks and Hatchery Management
2. Game Bird Rearing – from day old to release
3. Game Bird Rearing – from release to shoot

Attendees can expect to gain in depth knowledge of key aspects of bird health, management and equipment for each of the relevant life stages, with key debates in the industry also being covered as a part of the course. Whilst the programme will be delivered as a series of presentations, there will be extensive Q&A sessions to help address the huge diversity of experience between one game farm to another.

In addition, any attendees will have the option to take the modules on an individual basis, or all together, as a full three-part course. Upon completion, attendees will receive certified proof of training that will be recognised by any BGA Game Farm Auditor.

Two gamekeeping courses are taking place in Scotland (Photo: St David’s Game Bird Services)

Discounts on ticket prices will be applied for those attending multiple modules and/or attending with multiple people from the same farm or shoot and the courses themselves will be taking place across the country from 24 March-11 April.

The Scottish courses are:

Monday 28 March – Friars Carse Country Hotel, Dumfriesshire.

Monday 11 April – Buccleuch Arms, Roxburghshire.

Dr Kenny Nutting BVetMed MRCVS, director of St David’s Game Bird Services said: ‘Since the introduction of the British Game Assurance (BGA) Audits, training requirements for gamekeepers have increased, so we have been busy helping to create the gamekeeper training programme.

‘We successfully launched the scheme in Autumn 2021 and are delighted to offer these new dates. The courses are based on learning objectives that have been devised by several members of the shooting community and our team of vets to provide everything needed to guide gamekeepers through the process of the BGA audits, resulting in certifiable standards and assurance needed to futureproof businesses.

‘The introduction of training programmes and audits also helps to align us with other food producing industries, such as the poultry sector, which not only secures the route to market for the produce, but also works to demonstrate to consumers that the game bird sector has high health and welfare standards.’

For more information on the event, and to book a ticket, contact the St David’s Game Bird Marketing Team on 01392 872932 or email