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Self-driven Caithness graduate wins UHI engineering award

Jack Hamilton was presented with UHI's Prize for Engineering Excellence.
Jack Hamilton was presented with UHI's Prize for Engineering Excellence.

A Caithness graduate has won a top engineering award from the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Jack Hamilton scooped the prize for engineering excellence for achieving his degree with distinction despite the odds being stacked against him.

The 22-year-old from Wick, who completed a mechanical engineering BEng degree at North Highland College UHI, was nominated by programme leader Dr Pete Hylton.

He said: “Jack was a dedicated student who achieved his degree with distinction while working full time at Dounreay Nuclear Decommissioning.

“He was given half a day off one day a week to pursue studies. This meant that while the rest of his cohort were able to sit in the classroom for a full day of studies, Jack was only able to be there for half of the time and he worked hard to make up for the missed material using the online resources while studying on his own.

“This makes his effort and achievement even more noteworthy, and certainly qualifies him for this recognition.”

‘Inspiring’ determination

The annual prize, donated by Willie Printie, former managing director of LifeScan Scotland, is awarded annually in recognition of academic excellence in engineering.

Winners are selected from graduating engineering students from across the university partnership.

Mr Printie said Mr Hamilton’s story was “inspiring and demonstrated his determination to follow his dreams and succeed at becoming an engineer”.

He added: “During our conversation we talked of the importance of lifelong learning.

“The University of the Highlands and Islands is well placed to provide this for students as it can offer a pathway from leaving school to postgraduate degree level.

“In my day I had to go to two different colleges and two different universities to achieve the same.”

Accepting his award, Mr Hamilton said: “I enjoyed my time at the University of the Highlands and Islands, working from my national certificate, all the way through to degree level.

“I was pleased when I was contacted about winning the award. It was nice to receive some recognition for the work that I put into my degree.”

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