Offshore wind farm scholarships for school leavers from far north
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Five school leavers from Caithness and north Sutherland have been awarded scholarships from the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Farm.
The scholarships, administered through the charity Foundation Scotland, will support further studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
This is the second year of the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Education and Training Fund, which will provide a total of £16,000 to local students over four years.
The leavers from Thurso High and Farr High each received £1000 to help them during their time at university.
Having left Thurso High School, Ashleigh Coghill is using the scholarship to fund her move to Edinburgh to study actuarial science at Heriot-Watt University.
Fellow former pupil Keira Nellies is using the scholarship to buy the study materials needed in her mathematical physics degree at the University of Edinburgh.
Natalie Polson, also Thurso, explained: “Receiving the scholarship is assisting with accommodation and living costs while studying away from home, allowing me to focus on my chemical engineering degree without financial worries.”
Also studying at Heriot-Watt and from Thurso, Ben Brown said: “After making the decision to study chemical engineering at Heriot-Watt University I was initially concerned about the costs of moving away from home.
"The Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Education and Training Fund award has played a vital role in my transition into student life, allowing me to pay for groceries, accommodation and any study materials required.
"It’s also helping to elevate my university experience by subsidising the joining fees of extracurricular clubs.”
Cairn Jardine, from Farr High School, is studying BEng mechanical engineering with renewables at University of Dundee.
He said: “Coming from a very rural part of Scotland, I’m grateful to have received this scholarship from the Pentland Floating Offshore Wind Education and Training Fund.
"The bursary provides the financial backing I need to focus on obtaining my degree, which I plan to use to pursue my passion for engineering and be a part of society’s essential transition to renewable energy."
Pentland project director Richard Copeland said: “The next generation will be crucial for continuing the impressive work taking place across the renewables industry.
“We’re aware that moving to college or university is a huge milestone for young people as they face new challenges for the first time. So we’re delighted to be able to support them in navigating this transition as they progress their studies, enabling them to continue their education confidently, while also ensuring future STEM skills needs are met.”
Eilidh Coll, community funds adviser at Foundation Scotland, said: “The quality of applications for this year’s scholarships was incredibly high. The students who have been awarded bursaries have demonstrated excellent academic ability and we are excited to support them on their academic journey.”
The wind farm is being planned by Highland Wind Limited, which is majority owned by a fund managed by Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners, at a site some 7.5km offshore from Dounreay. There will be six turbines, up to 300m high to their blade tips.