MSP Alasdair Allan visited Lews Castle College UHI today (Monday September 28) to welcome new Principal and CEO Sue Macfarlane as Graduation Week launches. 

Mr Allan met students who are being supported to continue their studies as the Covid pandemic continues.

The College is hosting a week of online celebration for the graduates of 2020, from today (Monday 28 September).

The University of the Highlands and Islands will be publishing celebratory webpages featuring video messages from the Chancellor, HRH The Princess Royal, the University's Principal and Vice-chancellor and local academic partner principals. Students will also be able to download a graduate list to keep as souvenir. Throughout the week the College will be releasing celebratory student stories via its website and social media.

Lews Castle College Principal Sue Macfarlane said, ‘We want to celebrate all our higher education students who have graduated their courses this year despite the challenges they’ve faced through COVID-19. This has been an extremely difficult time for students, and we are very proud of all the hard work and dedication shown by every one of them.

"Lews Castle College is invested in helping to support the local community during this difficult time. We have a huge range of facilities on offer to support retraining, upskilling and flexible learning. A wide range of our courses can be studied online, part time and with expert support from College staff. We are working hard to develop our online offering further with new courses launching in January to provide further support for students and local businesses alike.”

MSP Alasdair Allan said, "It was great to meet with Sue today and to celebrate the achievements of our students locally in what are tough and trying times for students and educators.  The College has a crucial role in supporting individuals and business in the islands and it was interesting to hear about how this work is continuing as we adapt to the challenges brought about the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lews Castle College UHI is an academic partner of the University of the Highlands and Islands, the United Kingdom’s leading integrated university encompassing both further and higher education. The College provides a diverse range of courses to students in Lewis, North Uist, Benbecula and Barra.

Picture caption | MSP Alasdair Allan and Lews Castle College Principal Sue Macfarlane meet FES Electrical Apprentice Craig Mackenzie to discuss his work

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   

The Lews Castle College Maritime department is proud to join their colleagues at Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Stornoway Port Authority, and the members of the local fishing and aquaculture industries in supporting National Merchant Navy Day 2020.