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Summer placement students prepare for the world of work

12 July 2013

Twenty eight ambitious students, bringing fresh thinking and innovative ideas to businesses across the Highlands and Islands, are gathering to brush up on their skills for the world of work at a residential training course this week Monday 15 - Thursday 18 July.

The students, who come from across Scotland to work for up to twelve weeks with local businesses, are part of the TalentScotland Summer Placement Programme managed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE).

The projects carried out provide new thinking for the host businesses across a wide range of disciplines including engineering, marketing projects, scientific research, design and e-commerce.

As well as gaining experience through the paid placements, the students receive tailored training from Robert Gordon University’s Aberdeen Business School.  This is taking place this week at Fairburn Activity Centre near Muir of Ord.

The training helps them with project management, presentation, CV writing and business pitching skills in preparation for the world of work. At the same time they prepare for a competitive event at the end of August where they pitch their project findings to a panel of business experts.

The students attending this week’s training course work in businesses and social enterprises in Shetland, Orkney, John O’Groats, Thurso, Tain, Alness, Dingwall, Muir of Ord, Inverness, Moray, Fort William, Western Isles, Oban and Lochgilphead.

Robert John Anderson, who is working with NB Communication Ltd in Shetland is studying MSci Theoretical Physics at the University of Glasgow. He said: “During my summer placement, I analysed the working practices of an ambitious small company in order to implement an online information management system. Improving a business by doing important work which could not have been undertaken otherwise has shown me what immense benefit the TalentScotland Summer Placement Programme can bring to all of its participants.”

Thurso based JGC Engineering and Technical Servces Ltd have taken on Ryan Sutherland as an undergraduate trainee engineer this summer. Director, Will Campbell, said: “The TalentScotland scheme is an invaluable opportunity for the students involved and in the JGC case a very positive experience for the company. A ‘win/win’ scheme for all involved. Gaining real work experience prior to completing university increases a student’s job prospects and choices but more importantly will give the student knowledge and confidence that they will not immediately realise.

Ryan is our Engineering Student and in the space of a few weeks he has developed work place skills way beyond our expectations and has become a very effective member of our Project Management Team. Ryan has handling all the challenges presented to him with ease and we’d like to think a possible future employee of JGC.”

Nearly 60 students in the Highlands and Islands have benefitted from this course since 2011. The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Skills Development Scotland (SDS) have made the development and delivery of this tailored course possible.

Ruth Sime, Head of Programmes at HIE said: “The TalentScotland Summer Placement Programme is highly beneficial for both students and employers. The programme enables students to gain relevant work experience and use their academic knowledge in a practical business setting.

“This sets them apart from others when applying for jobs, which is particularly important when graduate opportunities are limited. Employers are able to take on committed staff at a subsidised rate to work on important projects during the holiday period. Some employers offer permanent positions to their placement students when they have graduated, which helps to retain skilled young people in the region.”


Notes to Editor

The summer placements are part of the TalentScotland Placement Programme, a partnership project comprising HIE, SFC, SDS, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Government and the Association for Graduate Careers Services. The programme also offers 3-12 month graduate placements across Scotland in organisations in all sectors. In the Highlands and Islands the programme is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

More information about the Programme can be found on the HIE and TalentScotland websites:

Students who are taking part in the training course are:


NB Communication Ltd – Robert John Anderson – Management Information Co-ordinator


The European Marine Energy Centre – Keith Alexander – Market Research Assistant

John O’Groats

Natural Retreats – April MacDougall – Team Leader End to End


JGC Engineering – Ryan Sutherland – Undergraduate/Trainee Engineer


ANTA Scotland Ltd – Heather Robertson – New Marketing Strategies Assistant

Glasstorm Ltd – Emma Baker – Glass Studio Assistant


Safety Training Solutions – Graeme Sweeney – Marketing Assistant


TEFL Scotland – Kiva Richard – Content Writer

TEFL Scotland – Steven Kellow – Inbound Marketing Assistant

Muir of Ord

SGL Carbon Fibers – Alexander Banks – Technology Placement

SGL Carbon Fibers – Stuart MacLacchlan – Laboratory Placement

SGL Carbon Fibers – Andrew MacKinnon - Product & Technology Management Placement


New Start Highland Enterprises – Rachel MacDonald – PR Assistant


Opportunity Enhancement Trust – André Büssow – Education Course Developer

Fort William

BSW Timber PLC – Alister Cummings – Data Analyst

BSW Timber PLC – Thomas Brindley – Data Analyst/Log Scanning

Vertical Descents – Michael Westcott – Digital Media Officer

Vertical Descents – Billy Lusk – Digital Media Officer

HW Energy – Oliver Tulloch – Design Engineer


HW Energy – Emily-Kate Battison – Research

Keltic Seafare – Carra Bruce – Project Administrator

Western Isles

Association of Harris Tweed Weavers – Kenneth Mould – Loom Development Researcher

Northton Heritage Trust – Stephen Mackinnon – Exhibition and Marketing Assistant

Stornoway Port Authority – Larah Macleod – Planned Maintenance Database Officer


Oban Phoenix Cinema - Nicola MacKinnon – Market Research and Product Development Officer


Midton Acrylics – Dalia Jankeviciute – Market Researcher

Further information on this news release is available from Mairi Bertram on 01463 244235


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