A commis chef at a Michelin-starred restaurant, a national park ranger at Hadrian’s Wall and a greenkeeper at a Ryder Cup golf course are just some of the exciting roles landed by students from SRUC.
Nearly 200 HNC and HND students attended the college’s winter graduation ceremony at the University of Glasgow’s Bute Hall, where Professor David Hume – former Director of The Roslin Institute at the University of Edinburgh – was honoured with an SRUC fellowship.
Among those graduating were 20-year-old Euan Welsh from Cupar, who recently started work at the world-renowned Restaurant Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles after completing his Higher National Diploma (HND) in Professional Cookery at SRUC’s Elmwood campus in Fife.
Speaking about working at the only restaurant in Scotland to hold two Michelin stars, Euan said: “I would not be here if it wasn’t for SRUC. It wasn’t just the skills I learned, which were really important, but it was character building and helped me develop on a personal level to give me the confidence to work in a restaurant like this.”
Meanwhile Jason Trinder, an SRUC distance learning student who has achieved a Higher National Certificate in Countryside and Environmental Management, took an unusual route into his job as a national park ranger.
Now based at Northumberland National Park Authority’s new National Landscape Discovery Centre, The Sill near Hadrian’s Wall at Hexham, the 46-year-old gave up a 20-year career in IT to embrace his love of the great outdoors.
He said: “The SRUC course was invaluable in giving me the theoretical knowledge behind countryside management and I wouldn’t have got the job without it. The fact it was a distance learning course allowed me to fit in volunteering work with the National Trust before I started work as a park ranger. A lot of people thought I was mad giving up a well-paid job in IT but now I’m doing what I love and I wouldn’t dream of changing it.”
Another student Adam Black, who graduated with a Higher National Certificate (HNC) in Golf Course Management, recently completed a six-month work placement at Le Golf National, near Paris – host of The Ryder Cup 2018. The 19-year-old from Forfar is now part of the greenkeeping team at Golfclub Fleesensee in Germany.
In his address to graduands on Friday 3 November, Wayne Powell, Principal and Chief Executive of SRUC, said: “Your lecturers, parents, families and friends are very proud of your achievements. It is however most important that each of you takes the time to recognise your own success and have the confidence to go forward and make a difference in the world.”
SRUC’s winter graduation ceremony also saw a professorship of rural resource economics conferred in absentia to researcher Andrew Barnes, while Cesar Revoredo-Giha was conferred with a readership in food supply chain economics. Phil Watkin, based at the College’s Elmwood campus in Fife, received the SRUC Award for Excellence in Teaching.
Also taking part in the graduation ceremony were 24 veterinary nursing students, who in addition to graduating from SRUC, stood before Dr Niall Connell, Vice Chairman of the Veterinary Nursing Council of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, to make their professional declaration.