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Caithness News Bulletins May 2007

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17 May 07
UKAEA Sponsorship Helped Five New Young Engineers
Five young men who were sponsored by UKAEA in 2006 to study for engineering qualifications are now reaching the end of their courses at the North Highland College.

Andy Bain, Robert Begg, and Ewan Scott have all studied for HNCs in Mechanical Engineering, Richard Sutherland for an HNC in Engineering, and James Cooper for his BSc in Mechanical Engineering.

They have been assisted in their studies by sponsorship from UKAEA in the form of a grant, paid monthly, to help with living and travel expenses.

The Sponsorship scheme allows NHC to attract appropriately qualified students into higher engineering education and help further UHIs bid for full University status.

Andy Bain is working on his second HNC, having previously gained a City & Guilds and an HNC in Nuclear Decommissioning at the college. He says that, without the sponsorship from UKAEA, he would not have been able to continue to study. He gave up a successful surfing business to concentrate fully on his studying, which he is hoping will now pay off in the form of an engineering career.

James Cooper is in his fourth year of studying, having worked through an NC, HNC, HND and now a BSc in mechanical engineering. He previously worked as a chef, first in the RAF, and then in the civilian world. His decision to give up full-time work in order to study for an engineering degree was not made lightly, and he appreciated the financial assistance that he received from UKAEA.

Robert Begg will shortly be starting work with Kongsberg in Wick. He is certain that, without the sponsorship, he would have been unable to leave his previous job to study full-time.

Richard Sutherland had finished an NC at the college, when he was offered a job in Aberdeen, but he decided to remain in Thurso and do his HNC, which he was able to do thanks to the sponsorship.

Ewan Scott has got interviews with local firms and companies outwith Caithness and is keeping his options open for the meantime.

All the students praised their tutor, John Douglas, and the other dedicated staff at the North Highland College who have worked hard to ensure that they were able to profit from the sponsorship opportunity.

I have to admire those students who have either undergone complete career changes, or left/turned down job opportunities and who have shown the confidence to invest their time at NHC. Solving engineering problems presents many challenges and I believe these lads deserve their opportunity, commented John.

Andy, Richard, James and Ewan will now be spending seven weeks at Dounreay during the summer, doing vocational training.

If you are interested in being sponsored by UKAEA to take up an engineering course at North Highand college watch out for details in the local press shortly.