TWO female coopering apprentices have been taken on at a business in the Wee County, thought to be an industry first.

Angela Cochrane and Kirsty Olychick have taken on the ancient craft of creating oak casks after Diageo recruited them for the Cambus cooperage in a drive to break down gender barriers.

The duo became a part of a 16-strong team of apprentices at the Coopering School and will be learning the tried-and-tested skills in the male-dominated trade.

Angela, 31 and formerly a psychiatric nurse, said: "I've never been put off by gender stereotypes.

"I don't think that should stop anyone from doing what they want to do.

"And knowing you're contributing to the growing whisky industry is an amazing feeling."

Kirsty, 38, left her home in Canada to pursue a career in the Scotch whisky industry, and added: "Coming into a male-dominated workplace didn't put me off at all, in fact I found it really empowering to be one of the first women to take up the craft and make my mark in history.

"It's such an exciting prospect to think that I'll be contributing to the next generation of Scotch. You shouldn't let anything hold you back."