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XpoNorth and University of the Highlands and Islands announce unique programme for students

Creative industries students at the University of the Highlands and Islands are set to receive specialist support to make them “ready to market faster” thanks to an ongoing partnership with the creative economy support network, XpoNorth.

Eli McLaren. Photo: Martin Forey

Level UHI! The initiative, which was piloted last year, will be fully launched today (Monday, January 31) to provide students wishing to work in the creative industries the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the sector and professional support to craft clearer career paths upon graduation.

This customized suite of services will provide a mix of workshops and training, a high level of networking opportunities and access to high-level professional content to prepare students for the industry, highlight current and future opportunities and allow them to fully explore the diversity of opportunities available across the sector.

The creative industries have been one of the hardest hit during the pandemic, and as a result the creative economy is constantly evolving. It is such insight that will prove invaluable to students looking to pursue a career in the creative economy after their studies.

Last year’s partnership saw more than 60 students receive high-level specialist 1-2-1 mentorship and make the broader course content available to all students of the creative industry across the UHI network.

Alex Smith of XpoNorth said: “After a hugely successful first pilot for the UHI LevelUp! programme, we are pleased to work with the innovative team at the university to expand and further develop the project, allowing us to offer a wide range of opportunities for their creative industry student networks. Partnership is to support students to prepare for a career in this sector and to gain insights, mentorship and expert advice and access to networks that can support them to better understand and explore career opportunities.

“As the creative industries and the broader economy continue to feel the effects of the pandemic, it is more important than ever that students and business outlets connect to develop career paths for future talent entering the market.”

Dr Jane Vanderhoeven, Deputy Director – Associate at the University of the Highlands and Islands added: “Through collaborations like this, we create opportunities to achieve transformative impacts for our region, its economy and its people. It is essential that you are able to respond quickly to the challenges of the sector as we recover from the pandemic. Having laid these strong foundations in delivering a successful pilot program with XpoNorth, we can now enhance the support available to help prepare our students to excel in their professional journeys and understand their future learning

Need. “

Ellie McClaren, who participated in LevelUp! Last year, I graduated from the University of the Highlands and Islands, enrolling at Lews Castle College in Stornoway, with a first class BA in Applied Music (Hons) and now studying for a MA in Marketing. She also teaches violin to private pupils and has recently done a completely new arrangement at Celtic Connections that was commissioned to write it by Hands Up For Trad and Stonehaven Folk Festival.

Ellie said, “I wanted to participate in LevelUp! The program where I was able to see the great opportunities it could provide for someone like me. Industry advice alone was enough to convince me to participate. My experience with LevelUp! was further enhanced by the role of Student Ambassador that XpoNorth offered me.”

“I worked alongside them for three months in the lead up to my graduation, aiming to encourage and connect with students in order to get them to participate in XpoNorth activities and the wealth of knowledge they possess as an institution.

“I feel like the most important skill I’ve learned from LevelUp! is to put myself out there and talk to people.

“LevelUp! Show me that sometimes it’s the person you know, and networking is so valuable. I would definitely recommend LevelUp! For any student who might be looking for that advice when transitioning from being a full-time student to a career or starting a business, XpoNorth and LevelUp provide Many opportunities!”

Students looking to register their interest in LevelUp! Must visit: www.uhi.ac.uk/levelup


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