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PICTURES: Graduation success for Inverness students on course aimed at retaining future civil engineers


By Philip Murray

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Pictured at the ceremony are (from left) Grahame Barn of CECA Scotland, Jake Deary, Innes Munro, Jack Underwood, Jemma Bartlett, Murray McCallum, John Gibbons, Harrison Macleman, Konrad Baczkiewicz and Iain King.
Pictured at the ceremony are (from left) Grahame Barn of CECA Scotland, Jake Deary, Innes Munro, Jack Underwood, Jemma Bartlett, Murray McCallum, John Gibbons, Harrison Macleman, Konrad Baczkiewicz and Iain King.

Civil engineers of the future had much to celebrate after they graduated from UHI Inverness recently.

The latest construction operations students to graduate from the CECA Academy celebrated their success at the special ceremony.

After they received their certificates, the eight graduates met representatives from eight civil engineering firms at a networking session, in the first stage of a recruitment process which guarantees job interviews for all completing students.

Konrad Baczkiewicz, Jemma Bartlett, Jake Deary, John Gibbons, Harrison Macleman, Murray McCallum, Innes Munro and Jack Underwood made up the second cohort of students to undertake the 18-week course that was introduced last year to address the skills shortage in the civil engineering industry.

The Civil Engineering Contractors Association Scotland designed the course to meet the workforce needs of an industry with a growing skills gap. Energy Skills Partnership (ESP) worked with UHI Inverness and other colleges to introduce the course, and the Scottish Funding Council also provided support.

Pictured (from left) are Jake Deary, Innes Munro, Jack Underwood and Jemma Bartlett.
Pictured (from left) are Jake Deary, Innes Munro, Jack Underwood and Jemma Bartlett.

The course provides an important new route into the industry and aims to attract and retain new talent in the region.

The ceremony was held at the Balloch campus of UHI Inverness and was attended by students, staff, family members, civil engineering sector representatives and members of CECA and ESP.

The graduation included a presentation from Grahame Barn, chief executive of CECA Scotland, about future billion-pound infrastructure projects across Scotland.

He told the graduates: “By graduating today, you have set yourself on a road with a long prosperous career ahead.”

The students began studying for the NPA Construction Operations qualification in January, attending five days a week from 9am to 5pm. They learned a range of practical skills at the Balloch campus, which was supported with classroom learning at the Inverness Campus.

Pictured (from left) are Murray McCallum, John Gibbons, Harrison Macleman and Konrad Baczkiewicz.
Pictured (from left) are Murray McCallum, John Gibbons, Harrison Macleman and Konrad Baczkiewicz.

Graduate Jemma Bartlett said: “I enjoyed the course, and my hope is that I will now secure a position as an adult apprentice with a civil engineering firm. The lecturers were amazing, and really patient and knowledgeable. They always took the time and effort to make sure we understood everything.”

William MacLeod, the Depute Curriculum Lead for Construction, Technology and Plumbing at UHI Inverness who led the course, opened the event by thanking the lecturing staff for their hard work and the industry partners for supporting the students and attending the event.

Iain King, Curriculum Leader for Construction and Engineering, told the students they were graduating at an exciting time for the Highlands and Islands with lots of opportunities in civil engineering.

He added: “I know during your interviews you will do your best, and I want you to treat every day of your working life like it’s an interview day, and that will ensure your career will be more rewarding and you will keep learning.”


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