AN organisation representing 42 UK land-based colleges and universities has rated Herefordshire and Ludlow College top of the crop.

Landex (Land Based Colleges Aspiring to Excellence) reported the college had the highest success rates for a variety of subjects, including agriculture, animal care, countryside, forestry, equine and access to farriery.

The Holme Lacy Campus plays a key role in developing the skills of young people and adults for the rural workforce in Herefordshire and the surrounding counties.

Rob Dunn, assistant principal for Land Based Studies, said: “Students studying at the Holme Lacy Campus achieve consistently outstanding results.

"This remarkable accomplishment is a measure of the quality of our students and the determination of our staff to deliver the very highest standard of teaching and support."

Each year the campus welcomes a wide mix of students from across the county and further afield.

Some students are not strangers to the college having taken part in activities such as the taster young persons countryside activities course for 14 to 16-year-olds’ or the level two schools programme run by the Equestrian Centre.

Tasmin Wheeler, a 16-years-old from Hereford, is one such student who achieved her level two diploma in horse care studying one day a week at the college over two years.

“I really enjoyed the schools programme and I am proud to have achieved a distinction in both years," said Tamsin. "I’ve just started the level three extended diploma in horse management and I am very excited about it.

"I like the practical side of it but I am looking forward to learning more of the technical side as well.

"I’m pleased that the college is doing so well, it just reinforces that I have made the right choice studying here. The size of the campus is great because it doesn’t feel overwhelming."

The campus also welcomes students returning to education to enable a change in career or career development.

Others have changed their mind about studying A levels and want to explore a more industry-focused approach in a subject they are passionate about.

This is the case for 18-year-old Sean Parsons from Hereford who is studying the level three extended diploma in animal management.

“I have just started the course and I find it brilliant so far. I have been handling all different types of animals which has been great," said Sean.

"I have a passion for reptiles and I realised after my A levels that really, this is what I want to pursue.

"The teaching is very varied and practical and I am really looking forward to the next couple of years.

"I have one day a week for work experience and because I am studying this course I have a great placement at a reptile pet shop.”

The majority of students from the level three Extended Diploma in Agriculture progress into full-time employment on mixed farms across Herefordshire and beyond.

An increasing number of students progress to higher education including Tom Payton, who came to the college from a sixth form.

“I arrived with very few agricultural skills or knowledge.

The level three course helped me enormously. I learnt a huge range of livestock and machinery skills and was able to use these on work experience,” said Tom, who is going to begin a degree in agriculture.