Meet our students
Leah Baarda, Professional Cookery
Leah Baarda (17), a sixth-year pupil at Fortrose Academy, is studying Professional Cookery at UHI Inverness every Friday.
Leah said: “I wanted to learn to cook and opted for this course to gain experience and now I have applied for the full-time professional cookery course after I leave school. I enjoy making new friends and the free food! The lecturers are very helpful and friendly – our chef is amazing and very funny.”
Emma Hutchison, Cosmetology
Emma Hutchison (16), a fifth-year pupil at Charleston Academy, opted to study cosmetology as a Senior Phase student at UHI Inverness because she wanted to gain some experience outside of school and to try something new.
Emma said: “It is different from school in a good way. The lecturers are very supportive and friendly and are always there to talk to. I enjoy meeting a diverse range of people and it has taken me out of my comfort zone to allow me to progress in my beauty skills.
“I hope to work in the make-up industry and the course will help me develop the necessary skills I need and set me up for what I want to do. I would say to future students to not be afraid of going in on your own, everyone is very friendly, and you’ll soon meet others. Making friends is easier because we are all interested in the same thing.”
Seamus Dougherty, National Progression Award: Acting and Performance
“I chose to study a Senior Phase course at UHI Inverness to gain extra experience and to get used to the campus for when I attend after S6,” said Seamus Dougherty (18) of Millburn Academy.
“NPA Acting and Performance was the right course for me because I have a huge interest in creative writing and entertainment, and I enjoy the practical assignments and the creative freedom. The teaching style suits me very well; the respect is mutual, and it is both relaxed and engaging.
“Overall, it’s a great way to develop your skills, boost your confidence, provide opportunities for a fresh start and to make new friends.”
Ciaran Howarth, National Progression Award: Networks and Cyber Security
Ciaran Howarth (16) of Inverness Royal Academy works well with computers. He chose to study the NPA Networks and Cyber Security course because he wanted to find out more about technology and information systems.
Ciaran said: “The lecturers are very approachable and happily answer any questions I have. I believe this course will help me prepare for my future as the world is changing and technology is everywhere.”
Finlay MacGregor, Foundation Apprenticeship: Civil Engineering
Finlay McGregor (16) from Nairn is studying Foundation Apprentice Civil Engineering at UHI Inverness because he has always had a keen interest in the topic. He enjoys learning in a new environment, away from school, where he has formed new friendships.
Finlay said: “I think the lecturers are very friendly and they teach in a way that is easy to understand. One of the highlights was visiting the Balfour Beatty site and we have also had the opportunity to speak to past students.”
He hopes to move onto an apprenticeship after school and believes his Senior Phase course will help with that progression.
“I believe that the more you put into the course, the more you get out of it,” said Finlay.
“It is a really enjoyable and interesting course. I really like the whole community feel at UHI Inverness and how everyone is friendly and welcoming.”
Samuel Pittman, Foundation Apprenticeship: Civil Engineering
Samuel Pittman (17) from Ardross opted for the Foundation Apprentice: Civil Engineering course because he wanted a change of surroundings from his secondary school and to gain an insight into his future career.
Samuel said: “This course is closely related to what I want to do for my future career, and I really enjoy working in teams and getting the opportunity to be creative. The teaching style is very involving and interactive, and the tutors and lecturers are helpful.
“I would like to go onto a graduate apprenticeship in civil engineering and my Senior Phase studies will help me to determine whether or not this is the right career path for me.”
Molly Thompson, Foundation Apprenticeship: Creative and Digital Media
Molly Thompson (17), from Rosemarkie, has ambitions to be a music journalist and hopes to study media at university.
“As it’s my second year, I've had the opportunity to work with the UHI Inverness marketing team every Friday and work on projects that are used to promote the campus and its courses, such as TikTok videos and Instagram posts, including my ‘Day in the Life’ reel which attracted at least 14,000 views.
“Going to the campus every week means I can learn things that are relevant to what I want to do, and the work experience in the marketing sector further motivates me to pursue a career in media. The Foundation Apprenticeship helps me make connections with communication professionals and build a portfolio of work which is incredibly valuable to my career prospects in such a competitive industry.
“Although it did seem a bit daunting at first, working in an office for the first time has been great and the team is incredibly supportive and easy to talk to. Having my work used to advertise UHI Inverness makes me feel as though I’m working towards something worthwhile, which has been incredibly rewarding.
“The placement has given me confidence working in a creative environment and has allowed me insight into how social media marketing works, as well as building upon the skills that I learnt in my first year of the course. Over the course of the last two years, I have learnt how to video edit, follow creative briefs, and create social media posts in professional way, much of the time whilst working within a team.
“In first year, we were given the task of creating a video to highlight computer safety. The team and I tackled this brief by creating characters and a full story line to create a short comedy clip about a Hacker. The full project was written, acted, filmed, directed and produced by the team, and I had a really great time bouncing ideas off my friends whilst still learning a lot.
“Overall, I feel as though the foundation apprenticeship has given me a head start for Uni and my future in media and will help me stand out from others when applying to Uni or a job.”
Ava McMillan, Skills for Work: Hairdressing
Ava McMillan (16) has ambitions to be a hairstylist and is enjoying learning new skills at UHI Inverness that she can use in her future career.
Ava said: “I want to be a hairdresser and I am enjoying drying and styling hair. Studying at UHI Inverness is a really good way of learning new things. I’ve learnt lots of techniques and made new friends. I also really like how big and open the campus is.”
George Huxtable-Smith, National Progression Award: Professional Cookery
George Huxtable-Smith (16) from Balloch is studying NPA Cookery at UHI Inverness.
George said: “I chose the course because it helps me learn life skills in the kitchen and how to cook properly. Cooking is something I love. The best thing has been learning how to use a knife properly and another highlight is eating the food afterwards.
“My Senior Phase course has helped give me the foundation to join a professional kitchen in the future. I also enjoy the freedom it offers compared to school and it allows you to meet new people. It’s been a great time and I would recommend to others to give it a try.”