Keith friends share graduation joy

Two Keith students who have been friends for more than a decade have shared one of life’s significant milestones after graduating from the same course at Robert Gordon University (RGU).

Walter Leith and Grant MorrisonWalter Leith (21) and Grant Morrison (21) celebrated picking up their MEng degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Mechanical and Electrical Engineering respectively on Tuesday, December 8 at Aberdeen’s Music Hall.

It is not the first success the former Keith Grammar School pupils have shared during their time at university, with both managing to secure scholarships in their first year – Walter with Talisman Sinopec and Grant with Technip - which saw them receive financial support, industrial placements and mentoring through their degrees.

In both cases, the scholarships have now led to offers of full-time employment from the companies, with Walter taking up the position of Graduate Mechanical Engineer and Grant, that of Graduate Project Engineer.

Walter said: “I have really enjoyed my time at RGU, it's a great university. The new facilities at Garthdee are outstanding and enable you to get the most out of the course.

“I also appreciate the time and effort that the lecturers put into the course, it’s clear to see that they are dedicated to teaching and helping the students get the most out of our time.

“I have become a more confident and professional person and have made good friends, many of which I will have for the rest of my life.

“In first year I met my girlfriend of four years, who I’m about to move in with, and now upon finishing university I have started a career in Aberdeen with Talisman Sinopec.”

He added: “It took a bit of getting used to living away from home but you quickly get used to it and into the swing of things. I've learned to cook a few more meals now rather than just tomato soup or mince and tatties!”

Grant, who is assistant chairman at Keith Young Farmers Club, said: “I'd really recommend uni to anyone - I think that my degree has opened up a lot of opportunities. It can be hard work in the run up to exam time, with coursework deadlines also landing at the same time but it is worth it when you get the results back.

“The most challenging thing for me was trying to juggle studies and work on the farm. I remember I spent Freshers’ Week in first year at home baling straw!

“My real passion is in farming and I hope to be doing that full time at some point in the future. With my degree it's good to know I'll always have something to fall back on if it doesn't work out - especially seeing the tough time that farmers are having at the minute.

“Through university, I've met a lot of new people who I will definitely be keeping in touch with and I've also gained a lot of confidence.”

Talking about the importance of his scholarship during his time at RGU, Walter said: “The scholarship with Talisman Sinopec has provided me with a platform to accelerate my development and provided valuable work experience prior to starting as a graduate through summer placements with the company.

“The company has been great to and for me, both in terms of the opportunities they have given me and in terms of the financial support. Having the scholarship allowed me to focus more on my studies while at university without having to worry about funding myself completely. Also, the placements provided the opportunity to gain some contacts in industry which proved to be very useful during the job search.”

Grant added: “Aside from the financial help given by the scholarship, the placements gave me an idea of what to expect when I graduated.

“In the current climate, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have a job now if I didn't have the experience gained on the placements.”

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Jenny RushCommunications Officer | Design and Technology