Lews Castle College UHI are delighted to announce a new partnership with former Digby Chick Head Chef James Mackenzie.

James’ new role as Development Chef is part of Lews Castle College UHI’s new approach to support and develop new opportunities for the local community hit by the COVID-19 Global Pandemic.

The College are seeking to offer a range of new training experiences in the Professional Cookery and Hospitality sectors to directly meet the needs of the local industry and so increase the resilience of the local economy.

James’ appointment will explore a new focus on the food and drink sector locally and lead to enhanced opportunities for horticulture, food technology and food and drink innovation.

James  said “…after 35 years in the industry I was looking for an opportunity to put something back into the industry locally and by training up the next generation of chefs and cooks I think I can bring my vast experience and knowledge to this initiative. The kitchens at Lews Castle College are a fantastic bespoke training facility and I cannot wait to get started."

Dr Michael Smith, Head of Department at Lews Castle College UHI commented that: “This is a great step forward in being able to begin servicing better the food and drink sector locally.

"We hope with additional on-going industry input and advice we can produce and offer a range of engaging courses for school pupils all the way up to professional chefs.

"The hospitality sector is crucial to the local economy and Lews Castle College want to offer courses that support and encourage this sector.”



An ‘exemplary’ student has been awarded the Student of the Year title  at Lews Castle College UHI as its Online Graduation Week Continues.

SVQ Electrical Installation student Andrew Horne’s work has been described by his lecturer as “exemplars for future students attending this course in our college.’

This week sees Lews Castle College UHI begin a week of online graduation celebrations. Sadly, due to Covid restrictions, graduation has not been able to take place but the College are continuing to do everything possible to help students celebrate.

Throughout the week the College will be celebrating the stories of some of the wonderful students who have been studying with Lews Castle College UHI. These stories will celebrate how students, with the support of the College, have overcome extremely difficult circumstances created by the global pandemic to continue to excel in their studies.

Of Andrew Horne, Richard Hemmings, Lecturer in Electrical Engineering, said “Andrew’s non-practical work has been completed to a very high standard, gaining 100% grades in all the work he submitted to date. During the Covid lockdown, Andrew and his colleagues had to complete as much work as they could on-line. This situation was particularly challenging as apprentice courses were never designed for on-line delivery. I am very pleased that they coped so well.”

Andrew has been serving his Apprenticeship with local company A Campbell Electrical Services. Company Secretary Rachel Campbell said: ‘ACES Ltd are delighted to hear of Andrew’s award which reflects his hard work and we are appreciative of the support he receives from Lews Castle College.

"We are sure Andrew will continue to progress through his next two years at College with the same work ethic and determination he has shown over the last 18 months. Over the last 18 years all of our Electrical Apprentices have enjoyed their training at Lews Castle College as part of their SECTT Apprenticeship scheme.’

(A name spelling has been corrected since this was first published. Apologies for the error.)



A new podcast series to help current students and graduates navigate their future career and employment options has been launched by the University of the Highland and Islands.

It explores the shifting nature of work in an increasingly interconnected world. In each episode, guest speakers will unpack their career and share varying perspectives on the world of work to support students and graduates at an uncertain time.

Acting to support those affected by the uncertainty and changes following the COVID-19 pandemic, the first Future Me podcast series features a range of interviews with employers, staff and graduates that share their own career stories, experience and advice.

Speaking about this new initiative launched by the Careers and Employability Centre, Nicola Smith, Head of Careers and Employability, said:

"The theme running though this podcast series is ‘look up, look forward, be in the know'.  This new resource gives us an opportunity to communicate with students in a different way to provide them with insight into a range of career journeys, shared by real voices, in an accessible format. 

"We believe that there will be something of interest to everyone no matter what subject or level you are studying at, how you are learning or where you are located. We want listeners to see their career decisions not as ‘problems to be solved', but as amazing opportunities to be curious about. This podcast will encourage them to be open to exploring the possibilities and to consider what careers exist across our region and beyond."

Produced and hosted by the university's curriculum development and employer engagement team, Katie Masheter, Alana Macleod, John McLuckie and Audrey Decou, each episode is approximately thirty minutes long and it features guest interviews from businesses and academia to students and staff, with more details of student support services available locally across the university partnership available. 

Highlands and Islands Students' Association President, Florence Jansen, said: "The service provided by the careers and employability centre is a major component of the student experience at the university and helps so many students develop the skills needed to thrive in this uncertain time, giving them confidence to succeed in their chosen careers. We're so excited to see how the new podcast adds to the service provided and hope it motivates our students to stay connected, ambitious and excited about their futures."

The series is available now from the careers and employability centre at www.uhi.ac.uk