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University of the Highlands and Islands names five winners in student of the year awards for achievements at the Inverness Campus and the Scottish School of Forestry


By Alasdair Fraser

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UHI student winner Cobey MacQuarrie
UHI student winner Cobey MacQuarrie

UHI Inverness has announced its five winners of this year’s student of the year awards.

The awards celebrate the achievements of students and apprentices at the Inverness Campus and the Scottish School of Forestry.

This year’s winners have been recognised for a range of reasons, including academic achievement, overcoming adversity, personal endeavour and exceptional peer support.

The winners are:

Higher education student of the year – William Moncrieff, BA (Hons) Sports Management

Further education student of the year – Medine Duff, Higher Social Science

Medine Duff, Further Education Student of the Year
Medine Duff, Further Education Student of the Year

Postgraduate student of the year – Joy Nicolson, MSc Applied Data Science

Apprentice student of the year – Kimberley McIntyre, Painting and Decorating SVQ III

William Moncrieff, Higher Education Student of the Year
William Moncrieff, Higher Education Student of the Year

Senior phase student of the year – Cobey MacQuarrie, NPA Sports Development

UHI’s Inverness principal and chief executive, professor Chris O’ Neil, said: “My warm congratulations go to our five worthy winners on their fantastic achievements.

“They have all displayed an outstanding dedication to their studies and are inspiring role models for our student body.

“I am impressed by how they have engaged fully with our learning community, offering valuable support to their fellow students, and demonstrating a commitment and enthusiasm to achieve.

Joy Nicolson, Postgraduate Student of the Year
Joy Nicolson, Postgraduate Student of the Year

“Their accomplishments are even more impressive considering they had to study under the Covid-19 restrictions that were still in place at the start of this academic year.”

The five winners were nominated by staff members and have each received a certificate and a £100 voucher.

One of the winners, Cobey MacQuarrie (17), attended UHI Inverness as a senior phase student, studying NPA Sports Development on Fridays while a sixth-year pupil at Inverness Royal Academy.

UHI student winner Cobey MacQuarrie, Senior Phase Student of the Year
UHI student winner Cobey MacQuarrie, Senior Phase Student of the Year

His studies were interrupted when his mother passed away at the start of this year and then again in April when he spent time in hospital.

When his circumstances improved, Cobey spent many hours working in the campus library catching up on course work.

The various personal difficulties he experienced made it the hardest of his life.

“I found that attending college always helped me,” Cobey said.

“I’ve enjoyed being in the college atmosphere and my lecturer Ross Pattison has been really supportive. I enjoyed the course, especially the gym side of it, and the strength and conditioning we did.

“I saw great improvements in myself.

“What I would want from this is other people seeing what happened to me and reflecting on it themselves.

“No matter how much you have been through, as long as you keep going, you can get whatever you want. This award is something that has made me feel really humble, and grateful for the work that I have put in.”

Cobey will return to UHI Inverness after the summer to study a sports course. He has ambitions to be either a football coach or a PE teacher.

Apprentice student of the year Kimberley McIntyre (27), from Culloden, began studying at UHI Inverness in 2017 and recently completed her four-year apprenticeship, latterly studying painting and decorating SVQ III.

Winner Kimberley McIntyre, Apprentice Student of the Year
Winner Kimberley McIntyre, Apprentice Student of the Year

She worked in retail and hospitality before being persuaded to join her brothers David and Iain in the family business McIntyre Painting and Decorating Services.

She represented UHI Inverness at the Painting and Decorating Association’s UK apprentice paperhanger of the year in Doncaster last year and was named senior entrant winner at the awards ceremony in November.

“This award was such a big surprise, and my family threw a party for me to celebrate," she said.

“Being at UHI Inverness has been brilliant. The lecturers have been really supportive. I wouldn’t have stuck at it if it wasn’t for them pushing me, being really encouraging.”


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