Orkney students honoured at ceremony

UHI Orkney students celebrated their academic achievements with friends, family and staff on Friday 29 September. Over 250 students were invited to attend the celebration of success and achievement in St Magnus Cathedral.

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Lesley Mulraine, UHI Orkney Student of the Year, with UHI’s Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Vicki Nairn

Guests enjoyed music from UHI alumni Ellen Grieve and Hannah Firth and pipers Sandy Keldie and Ali Hepburn. They also heard an address from Beverly Clubley, a former Chair of Orkney College Management Council who will soon be starting a new role as a trustee for the Pickaquoy Centre. Mrs Clubley also presented the awards at the ceremony, along with UHI’s Interim Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Vicki Nairn.

Lesley Mulraine from Kirkwall was named as the UHI Orkney Student of the Year. Lesley, who is studying for a level 9 continuing professional development award in leading and managing care services and who has completed a level 9 SVQ in social services and healthcare, was commended for her dedication and determination.

She was nominated for the award by Derek Aiken, ​Curriculum Lead for UHI Orkney’s Health, Social Care and Education Department, who explained:

“Lesley has​ worked within the housing service at Orkney Islands Council for the past 30 years and has undertaken a number of roles during this time. Most notably, she spent 17 years working with the homelessness service. She is currently a Service Manager with the housing, homelessness and school care accommodation services.

“To achieve this level, Lesley has embarked on a remarkable and arduous academic journey, not only to assist her personal development, but to meet the challenging landscape of professional registration. She adopted a mature and positive outlook about the need for continued study. During the last two years of study, Lesley also faced significant physical health issues and a bereavement.

“It is to Lesley’s credit and determination that she will complete her course to a high standard. Her journey is an inspiration to other students and teaching staff.”

As the winner of the award, Lesley received a certificate and a cheque for £100 and will go forward as a candidate for the overall UHI student of the year award.

Claire Kemp, UHI Orkney Assistant Principal, said: “The panel, who reviewed all the nominations, considered Lesley a very worthy winner of our Student of the Year award, the first under UHI Orkney’s new identity. Lesley is an inspiring example of lifelong learning and the personal and economic impact of having a local campus which is part of UHI and which serves its local community.

“Lesley has achieved and continues to achieve her qualifications at a high standard with a positive attitude and outlook. She has done this despite trying personal circumstances and an extremely demanding full-time job. She has never given in or given up, showing drive and resilience. UHI Orkney has supported someone to develop professionally, with their skills and education being retained in Orkney for the benefit of the local community.

“Congratulations to Lesley and to all of the other students who have completed their studies this year.”

UHI Orkney’s celebration of success and achievement was followed by a celebratory reception at King Street Halls where students and their guests were invited to continue the celebrations.

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