Meet our students

Gemma Mcgregor content student facing camera

Gemma Mcgregor

Gemma McGregor was a young single parent struggling with mental health issues when she started studying Beauty Therapy at UHI Inverness. Now the manager of an award-winning spa, the 34-year-old believes studying at UHI Inverness allowed her to create a better life for her and her family. 

Gemma said: “I battled heavily with my mental health and during a support group I attended I had the amazing opportunity to carry out a full make-up routine on someone who was also battling with depression. Her confidence from this lit up an entire room of people. She shone, and in a matter of seconds she became this happy and confident person that I had never met before. I realised in that moment that this was the career I wanted to pursue. It made me happy being able to give that gift to another person.” 

Gemma, who progressed from an NC to an HNC and then an HND, said her studies challenged her to be the best version of herself as a beauty therapist. She enjoyed the balance between practical work and theory, the range of topics, the support services and extra-curriculum activities.  

“The lecturers were extremely supportive to me and my fellow classmates,” said Gemma. “I cannot commend them highly enough. I will forever cherish the amazing memories shared with my classmates and lecturers, and I’m grateful to have built life-long friendships.”  

Gemma recovered from depression by the time she graduated from the HND course, and two weeks later she gave birth to her son. She and her twin sister Emma then founded a non-profit charity called From Me To You which has helped tens of thousands of people living in poverty in the Forth Valley area. They also opened the first free store for day-to-day essentials and household goods in Scotland  

During this time Gemma put her beauty career on hold, but she landed a job as a spa therapist in 2021 and within 13 months she was promoted to spa manager. Her team in Falkirk recently won a national award for best multi-site beauty salon in Scotland. 

“The teachings within UHI Inverness gave me the tools needed to begin my career within Beauty Therapy and to successfully carry out the role as spa manager. The incredible support provided encouraged students to better themselves educationally, personally, mentally and emotionally. The course gave me something to focus on and a goal to work towards and classmates and lecturers provided me with important life lessons and support unlike any other.” 

Jodie Mullery content student at graduation 2023

Jodie Mullery

“I absolutely loved my time at UHI Inverness. I honestly miss it so much,” said Jodie Mullery. 

Jodie (34) from Avoch was a stay-at-home mum of three small boys when she decided to study at UHI Inverness after the death of her partner. She studied Hairdressing before progressing onto HNC Fashion Make-up. 

She is now building up her own small make-up and hair business and showing her sons that hard work and determination pay off. 

Jodie said: “I always felt respected and was encouraged by my lecturers to keep going when times were hard or when I didn’t believe in myself. I never would have been able to do it without them. Realising I was capable and had the ability to be a hairdresser and a make-up artist was just the best feeling.”