More than 100 students - including Darrah Mackenzie, aged 18, from Stornoway; staff; friends and family members celebrated together at the new Inverness College UHI campus recently, as they marked the end of the academic year with the annual student prizegiving.

Nominated by lecturers, support staff and students across all college departments, the awards celebrate achievement, success and endeavour across the entire curriculum.

Over 30 awards were handed out by Inverness College UHI, with many sponsored by local businesses and organisations who supported the event by donating prizes.

Local businesswoman and former student, Cecilia Grigor of Planit Scotland, also attended as guest speaker, providing an inspiring insight into her career to date, as well as valuable advice for young people entering the workforce.

The event also saw the crowning of this year’s students of the year – Shamus Doyle, 27,  from Aviemore for further education, and James Hall, 23,  from Bught, Inverness for higher education along with Darrah Mackenzie for apprenticeships.  Hairdressing apprentice, Darrah, has now completed her two years’ training. Darrah was also awarded overall Apprentice of the Year. She was nominated by lecturer, Elizabeth Burton, who said: “Darrah has had an amazing journey, travelling to Inverness from Stornoway for two week blocks three times a year for two years, starting when she was just 16.
“Darrah has shown 100 per cent commitment  to all areas of her studies with great maturity. She is also a good team player, a pleasure to have in class and an inspiration to other students.”

Shamus, who is currently in his first year of a HNC In fabrication welding, was nominated by his lecturer Andrew Reed. Andrew commented: “Shamus is always at the top of his class in theoretical lessons and assessments. Shamus came onto the course with minimal engineering skill and experience, and eager to improve, he volunteered with Strathspey Railway, not only filling a short fall in his own skill set, but also providing a voluntary service for the benefit of the general public."

Higher education student of the year, James, is currently in his third year of a BA in Sports Management. James’ nomination came from lecturers Kirsten Grant and Mark Murray. He will also go through to the final of the University of the Highlands and Islands’ network wide student of the year competition, due to be announced in November.  Mark commented: “James has always shown a hunger to further develop himself in sport and coaching. He has achieved national governing body awards in rugby and for a number of years he has coached age grade players for the Highland Rugby Club. He has also been heavily involved with High Life Highland's Active Schools programme, working with pupils in Fortrose Academy. This commitment was recently recognised when he was awarded the prestigious SportScotland High Life Highland Young Coach of the Year at the 2015 Highland Coaching Awards, which was a fantastic achievement."