Inverness College UHI announces its 2019/20 Students of the Year

Inverness College UHI has announced its Higher Education and Further Education Students of the Year.

Nominated by teaching staff and chosen by a judging panel, Alannah Greig, an HNC Built Environment student, was named Higher Education Student of the Year, and Amy Macdonald, a Step Into Care student, was named Further Education Student of the Year.

Both students will receive a certificate along with £100.

The announcement coincides with a week of celebrations across the University of the Highlands and Islands partnership dedicated to our 2020 graduates, who have been unable to attend a physical ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Graduates can download an online graduation programme and watch celebratory video messages from our chancellor, vice chancellor and principal. We’re also sharing out graduates’ stories and achievements on our social media platforms.

Our student of the year awards celebrate achievement, success and personal endeavour across the curriculum.

Higher Education Student of the Year

Alannah Greig, Higher Education Student of the Year 2019/20

Alannah Greig was amongst our first cohorts of students to enrol on our new HNC Built Environment programme and is now in Year 2 of our BSc (Hons) Architectural Technology degree.

Alannah, who balances her studies with looking after her 4-year-old son, was recognised for her determination to succeed, excellent work and the support she showed classmates during lockdown.

Lecturer Carrie Higgins said: “Alannah’s personal commitment has been inspiring. She has overcome some very challenging personal circumstances to be able to complete her studies and plan for the future. She lives with limited access to broadband which made remote delivery during lockdown incredibly challenging, however, she overcame this by scheduling her access to broadband and her childcare to enable her to complete all work. She met all deadlines, submitting excellent work and achieving a grade A in her HNC Built Environment Graded Unit. Lockdown made her circumstances very challenging and could very realistically have created a barrier to her progress, however, her hard work, commitment and dedication saw her overcome this and produce excellent work.”

Alannah (24), from Elgin, said: “It has been a difficult year for me, personally, and with the addition of lockdown restrictions creating even further challenges, it seemed like everything was against me to allow me to keep going with my studies, but I stayed focused and now to win this award means so much to me.  It is an amazing feeling to have been recognised for my efforts.  I decided to return to study not only for me, but to provide a better future for my son. I’ve really enjoyed the HNC Built Environment programme and it has set me on the path to study Architectural Technology, which I’m really excited about.”

Alannah has also been incredibly supportive of the course team, providing ideas and suggestions to help develop and shape remote delivery during lockdown.

Further Education Student of the Year

Amy Macdonald, Further Education Student of the Year 2019/20

Amy Macdonald enrolled on our Step Into Care programme with the aim of advancing her learning to support others from care experienced backgrounds. She’s now on our Health and Social Care (SCQF level 5) programme.

Despite significant challenges in her personal life which made study difficult, including upheaval in her home living arrangements, Amy continued to attend class, keep up to date with course work and assessments during lockdown.

Lecturer Mari Todd said: “I cannot imagine a more dedicated student: the perseverance, tenacity and will power to continue to hand in high quality work despite the obstacles is truly remarkable.”

Amy (21), from Dingwall, said: “I am very happy to win this award, although completely shocked. I’d love to progress in my studies and eventually become a social worker and support others, like myself, from care experienced backgrounds.”

Professor Chris O’Neil, Principal and Chief Executive of Inverness College UHI, said: “This year, more than ever, our awards have recognised the resilience shown by our students during what have been challenging and unprecedented times. These awards recognise the notable achievements of Alannah and Amy, in particular, and I want to congratulate both of them for what they have accomplished this year. Across the entire College, I have been incredibly proud of the way all our students have responded to the pandemic, their attitude and determination to succeed has been been amazing.”