Education and universities

Graduates benefit from residential training course

Fifteen graduates who are currently working on innovative placements projects with organisations across the region took part in a residential training course in October.

The course was created by HIE teamed and the University of Strathclyde’s Business School to support the delivery of graduate and student placements.

A new video captures the energy and enthusiasm of the participants who focused on sharpening their business skills as well as making new connections.

Held at the Old Brewery in Cromarty, the course is offered to all graduates and students on ScotGrad placements in the Highlands and Islands. It is highly interactive, giving graduates practical experience in areas including pitching and negotiation which can be applied in their placement projects.

The Scotland-wide placement programme is delivered by HIE in the Highlands and Islands and is part funded by the European Regional European Development Fund.

Students attending October’s course came from a variety of businesses and social enterprises, including Spòrs Nis in the Isle of Lewis, Isle of Gigha Heritage Trust in Argyll, and Eden Court in Inverness.

Lesley Wigglesworth, HIE’s graduate engagement manager, said: “The training is designed to help participants create and develop their own business support networks regardless of where their placement is located. It’s a good opportunity for us to provide them with the building blocks to go back to their organisations and try to make a meaningful change. We hope the content we provide allows them to speak strategically about their own projects in their placements.”

Beth Shannon, on a marketing placement with Essence of Harris in the Outer Hebrides, said: “The trainers have been so helpful and have already given me indicators of where to start my research and what to look at in my placement.”

The programme is designed to equip participants with the practical business skills they need, whilst the small scenic setting provides a great opportunity to socialise with other graduates and learn from one another, as well as gaining first-hand experience and support from HIE’s dedicated ScotGrad team.  

Employers also get involved in the programme and XpoNorth, Scotland’s leading creative industries festival regularly facilitates a session where the graduates are tasked with exploring solutions to some of the real-life challenges the organisation encounters when engaging with younger audiences. A number of the graduates’ suggestions have already been integrated into XpoNorth’s business model.


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