Meet our students

Stephen Anderson, National Progression Award: Costume Design content Stephen Anderson

Stephen Anderson, National Progression Award: Costume Design

Stephen Anderson (16), a fifth-year pupil from Nairn Academy, said: “I wanted to study a Senior Phase course because I knew it was welcoming and close to my home. I chose NPA Costume Design because I am interested in fashion and textiles, and I enjoy the painting, fabrics and sewing activities. 

“The teaching style is great, welcoming and comforting and I enjoyed meeting everyone on the first day. I’m interested in a career in fashion and textiles, and this has allowed me to explore more courses and given me more knowledge. My favourite things about coming to campus are the food, lecturers and friends.” 

Isla MacLean content student facing camera

Isla MacLean

Isla MacLean (17), a sixth-year pupil at Dingwall Academy, was recommended to study NPA Acting and Performance as a Senior Phase student after her guidance teacher noticed her interest in drama. 

“I really enjoy drama and plan to explore acting as a career, and I want to develop my skills. The style of teaching is really enjoyable, and I’ve been able to perform at open days.  

“My advice to others considering studying this course, is to be prepared to explore different parts of yourself and to develop them.” 

Grace Thorpe content student facing camera

Grace Thorpe

Grace Thorpe (17) from Golspie High School studies NPA Acting and Performance at UHI Inverness.

Grace said: “Although I live in Golspie, Inverness is a place I know really well, and I plan on moving here. I enjoy acting and this course offers a lot of skills which will help me. The people here are all really kind and I look forward to seeing them on Fridays.

“I really enjoy the style of teaching on the course. I always feels comfortable to speak up if I have any issues. I’d like to have a career in acting and I enjoyed performing at our open day. This course will directly help me learn skills I’ll need in the industry. Future students shouldn’t be afraid to put themselves out there – when performing or meeting people. It’s a nice environment and a very friendly and mature place.”

Leah Baarda, Professional Cookery content student facing camera

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 content Emma Hutchison

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.” 

Craig McBeath, Foundation Apprenticeship: Civil Engineering content student facing camera

Craig McBeath, Foundation Apprenticeship: Civil Engineering

Studying a Civil Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship (FA) at UHI Inverness as part of his school timetable, led Craig McBeath (22) from Beauly to pursue a career in the industry. 

Craig, now a Civil Engineering Graduate Apprentice, is due to complete his BEng (Hons) degree in May and has ambitions to be an Incorporated Engineer with the Institution of Civil Engineers 

“In my case, I had no idea what I wanted to do going in to my fifth year of secondary school. I heard about the FA during a registration class, and I thought I’d give it a shot,” said Craig. 

“There are many benefits to completing a Foundation Apprenticeship. You achieve an industry-recognised qualification that can be the equivalent of two or three Highers in some cases. It really enhances your CV and gives you an upper edge if you enjoy it and want to gain employment within the industry.  Even if you don’t enjoy it, at least you have tried and know that’s not what you want to do. The earlier you establish this the earlier you find your route. The progression opportunities available at UHI Inverness are excellent and allow for easy progression with my studies and qualifications.”

One of the highlights of the FA included working on a live footbridge construction project for the Forestry Commission in Culloden Woods, which involved project planning and programming, time management, risk assessments and method statements, site surveying, concept design, options appraisal, bridge design, construction drawings and materials specification. 

Craig said: “The two-week work placement working on the Culloden and Smithton Flood Alleviation scheme was another highlight. It exposed me to a live construction site where I gained setting out and levelling experience using GPS equipment and a total station for roadside embankments and a football pitch. I also learned about quality control procedures and health and safety on site.   

I now plan to continue to develop personally and professionally in my career. I want to lead by example and assist in developing young engineers when I become more experienced.” 

Ciaran Howarth, National Progression Award: Networks and Cyber Security content student case study

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 content student on computer

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 content student facing camera on computer

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 content student facing camera

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 content student in salon

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 content student cooking in kitchen

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.”