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UHI engineering talent awarded with prestigious renewables industry-led scholarship

Two University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) students have been awarded with an industry-backed scholarship bursary aimed at nurturing engineering talent and helping the next generation of renewable leaders into the clean energy industry. 

Tom David, 31, a first year HNC Engineering Systems student studying at UHI North, West and Hebrides Thurso campus and Rogan Nussey, 19, a second-year Electrical and Mechanical Engineering student at UHI Inverness will each receive a bursary worth £5,000 having emerged as the successful candidates for the prestigious Future Leaders Fund award which is backed by renewable industry leaders Fred. Olsen Seawind and Vattenfall. 

The Future Leaders’ Fund is UHI’s largest ever scholarship bursary fund and aims to retain high-achieving and talented engineering students in the Highlands and Islands – helping to build pathways for students from their academic studies into future work opportunities. The fund, worth £10,000 per academic year, is now in its second year, with Fred. Olsen Seawind and Vattenfall supporting the next generation of engineering talent by committing the funding to 2042.

Tom David, recipient of the Future Leaders Fund award for 2023/24 said: 

“I am humbled to have received this funding award and hugely excited by the opportunities it will bring. The next generation of engineers will be worth millions to the Scottish economy in the coming years as we drive towards net zero targets. Fred. Olsen Seawind and Vattenfall’s long-term support for the Future Leaders Fund is a major vote of confidence for future engineers like me, opening doors to future work opportunities and equipping students with the skills and industry know-how to support the energy transition.”  

Alongside the financial backing students receive via the Fund, the experienced Muir Mhòr Offshore Wind Farm project team also provides informal mentoring, advice, and the opportunity to undertake work experience during their summer break – an opportunity which was taken up by 19-year-old Rogan Nussey, who was recipient of last year’s Future Leaders’ Fund award in 2023 and will continue to be supported by the scheme through 2024. 

Rogan Nussey said: 

I’m delighted to be receiving the Future Leaders Fund for my second year of studies at UHI. The award has already opened up big opportunities for me, including a 10-week placement with the Muir Mhòr Offshore Wind Farm in summer 2023, where I gained experience across all engineering packages and understanding of highly innovative floating offshore wind systems. This experience has been invaluable to my studies and my onward career ambitions.” 

The Fund is exclusively supported by Fred. Olsen Seawind and Vattenfall, the joint venture partners behind Muir Mhòr Offshore Wind Farm – a proposed floating offshore wind farm off the North East coast of Scotland.

Andy Hynd, Technical Interface Manager at Muir Mhòr Offshore Wind Farm, said:

“We are delighted to support the Future Leaders Fund into its second year, nurturing engineering talent in the Highlands and Islands, and extend our hearty congratulations to Tom and Rogan as worthy recipients of the funding award. 

“It is initiatives such as the Future Leaders Fund that establish links between academia and industry which will help us to develop the engineers of the future who are so vital to Scotland’s energy transition and future economy. It’s great news that in our delivery of highly innovative renewables projects such as Muir Mhòr Offshore Wind Farm we can support the next generation who will take that innovation to the next level.” 

Alison Wilson, Director of Economic Development and Advancement at UHI said: 

“We are extremely grateful to Fred. Olsen Seawind and Vattenfall for their commitment to making a difference to our region and supporting UHI to provide incredible opportunities like these for our students. 

“Tom and Rogan are worthy recipients, and excellent examples of the growing number of young people who see a bright future in the north of Scotland, and who UHI want to encourage to study and develop their careers here with support like this from global companies in growth sectors.

“Fred. Olsen Seawind and Vattenfall truly have engaged with us as long-term industry partners and it’s a privilege to be working alongside them to create an engineering talent pipeline that will enable the renewable energy sector to flourish over the decades to come.”