2011 - Ian Fraser
2011 UHI Alumnus of the Year - Ian Fraser
Ian Fraser of Maryburgh, Ross-shire, was an unemployed design engineer when he decided to sign up for the degree course in applied environmental science. Now he is the company director of the Dingwall-based consultancy Gunn MacPhee and Associates (GMA), specialising in private water and wastewater treatment and pollution control.
Mr Fraser graduated with distinction in 2005 from Inverness College UHI and went to work with GMA. His ‘confidence-building’ student experience at UHI inspired him to add more professional qualifications to his curriculum vitae.
He said: “In 2002, I found myself unemployed with few prospects of finding work in the Highlands. I decided to change career and Inverness College UHI offered the opportunity to remain in the region while studying for a degree in applied environmental science.
“Up to that point I didn’t know if I could do a degree. In mechanical engineering, we tended to serve an apprenticeship and then work our way up. It was hard going to start with, but a good challenge. Having a degree gave me an employment advantage and much more confidence in myself.”
Ian has gone on to work on projects as diverse as private wastewater treatment, flood risk assessments, ecological investigations and waste management.
Last year he became company director, with special responsibility for environmental issues. “We are now establishing GMA as specialists in designing sustainable solutions for a range of different clients from private individuals, local developers, private companies and Scottish Water,” he added.
UHI rector Garry Coutts, who headed the judging panel, said: “Ian has been able to forge a successful new career thanks to UHI. Without it, he faced having to move away from the area. He wins, as does the local economy. He was a very worthy winner of the alumnus of the year award and we are very proud of his achievements.”