We have recently been running a campaign over on our Facebook page featuring videos and interviews with current and former students of Orkney College UHI to highlight the Higher Education opportunities that exist locally.
All of the people we featured have achieved either their undergraduate or postgraduate degree at Orkney College and all of them had different reasons for choosing to study there. Some chose to come here for the expertise offered in particular subject areas, while others wanted to remain in Orkney rather than move south.
All spoke about the benefits of studying at Orkney College, reflecting that smaller class sizes meant more support from tutors and lecturers, as well as the blended learning approach which helped prepare them for working life. For those from Orkney, having the support of friends and family nearby was a real benefit, as was the fact that student debt was significantly less staying at home.
As well as the degree courses offered locally such as Fine Art, Business and Management, Computing or Education, being part of the University of the Highlands and Islands network mean it is possible to access a variety of courses at Orkney College through distanced learning.
In addition, the institutes for Agronomy, Archaeology and Northern Studies are all part of the Orkney campus and contribute to the research profile of the University of the Highlands and Islands, which also benefits the teaching on offer. It is possible to undertake undergraduate and postgraduate degrees at both the Archaeology Institute and the Institute for Northern Studies, visit orkney.uhi.ac.uk for more details.
Local young people often speak of feeling pressure to move south at the first opportunity, with the most common route to doing this being through further study on mainland Scotland. However, many young people do not feel ready to take that step at 17 or 18 years old, or their personal circumstances mean that making that move is not possible.
When you are young, you may feel that if you don’t take the step to move south as soon as you leave school you will miss that opportunity forever. However, this is not the case. You could stay in Orkney for a few more years, get your degree and then venture further afield if you wish.
Everyone is different and the path you take to your preferred career destination should be as individual as you are. To make the right choices for you, it is important that you explore all of the options available and find out more about what is on offer.