Rural Employer

Our RURAL EMPLOYER finalists for the 2017 Scottish Rural Awards are…

Walkers Shortbread

Aberlour, Moray

Walkers Shortbread was founded in 1898 by Joseph Walker with a loan of £50 and an ambition to bake the world’s finest shortbread. Having grown their workforce from under 20 to over 1,200 staff (1,700 in peak times), the company is now the largest Scottish food exporter, with over 600 jobs created in export sales. Walkers is the only UK food employer to have won the Queen’s Award to Industry for Export Achievement on four occasions.


The Green Welly Stop

Crianlarich, Perthshire

Established in 1965, this family business provides roadside services for all travellers, housing two restaurants, retail shops and a petrol station. The Green Welly employs over 90 people, with a focus placed on recruiting local staff. The company supplies transport from nearby villages to assist staff in getting to work and offer free staff meals and low cost accommodation. They are a REHIS Approved Training Centre and provide Food Hygiene qualifications to employees and the surrounding community.


Monachyle Mhor 

Balquhidder, Lochearnhead

Monachyle Mhor is a 16-bedroom boutique hotel and restaurant in the grounds of the working farm at Monachyle Mhor, 17 miles from Callander. They employ up to 85 members of staff – 30 full-time – over all aspects of the business, with numbers reaching around 110 in the summer. Monachyle Mhoe pride themselves in offering opportunities to train and grow with the business, working with the likes of Forth Valley College and Strathyre Primary School to provide work experience and inspire the younger generation to cook sustainable meals.


CalMac Ferries Ltd (Caledonian MacBrayne)

Gourock, Renfrewshire

Award-winning Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) operates the UK’s largest ferry network, carrying some 4.6 millon passengers, 1.1 million cars and 87,000 commercial vehicles in 2015. CalMac’s contribution to tourism on the islands enables 3,247 jobs and £53.4 million worth of wages in local tourism – wages being 12 per cent higher than the Scottish average. They were the first ferry operator in the UK to achieve Living Wage accreditation and support a total of 5,883 jobs across the whole of Scotland.


Kezie Foods

Duns, Berwickshire

Kezie Foods is an importer of exotic meat based in the heart of the Borders. Celebrating their 25th year of providing rural employment to the local area, the company employs over 40 people and have achieved a top BRC (British Retail Consortium) grading. With a team of dedicated staff behind the business, Kezie Foods have grown from a start-up to a successful rural business.


Clark Engineering (WM Clark & Son)

Parkgate, Dumfries

WM Clark & Son was founded in 1924 by the late William Clark. Today the company consists of three main divisions; Clark Engineering, Powerhand Attachments and Clark Forest. As a consistent employer in the local community for over 92 years, the company currently employs 35 members of staff with many previous employees having set up their own enterprises as a result of the quality of training and experience provided by WM Clark & Son.


Bruichladdich Distillery

Bruichladdich, Isle of Islay

Established in 1881, Bruichladdich Distillery is the largest private employer on the Isle of Islay. The whisky distillery employs 70 people in the distillery, with a further 15 working from the Glasgow office. They work with local farmers to grow 25 per cent of the barley needed for production on Islay. In the next five years the company hopes to continue to mature 100 per cent of the spirit on the island.


Laggan Outdoor

Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries & Galloway

Laggan Outdoor was born in 2007 from owner Duncan McConchie’s passion for adventure and love of Dumfries & Galloway. From its first year teaching archery to welcoming tourists during the summer, the company has expanded into a multi-activity centre sees 15,000 people visit per year. Laggan Outdoor currently employs 30 member of staff that share Duncan’s passion for adventure but plan to create seven full-time and 25 part-time new positions with the launch of the GG Yard wedding conference and event venue.


Macphie of Glenbervie

Stonehaven, Kincardinshire

Macphie of Glenbervie  began in 1928  under Alister Macphie who founded  a small bakery in Glasgow. Today, the company is renowned as the UK’s leading independent manufacturer of added value, multi-temperature food ingredients, producing dessert toppings, bread mixes, sweet and savoury toppings and cream alternatives. The company employs nearly 300 people over their two sites, benefiting the local community as a major employer in the area.


Baxters Food Group

Fochabers, Moray

Baxters Food Group is a fourth-generation family business, founded by George and Margaret Baxter in Fochabers, Moray in 1868. They are an employer of over 500 employees in Scotland alone, with a global workforce of 1400. Baxters have almost 150 years of provenance and history, holding a Royal Warrant for the manufacture of Scottish Specialities by Her Majesty The Queen – a testament to the group’s product portfolio and uncompromising commitment to quality produce.