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XpoNorth and University of the Highlands and Islands LevelUp! programme returns to provide unique training for creative arts students

THE LevelUp! program returns to help support arts students.

The initiative, which was trialled last year, launches on Monday January 31 and offers students who hope to work in creative industries the opportunity to gain more experience in the sector.

The program is a collaboration between the University of the Highlands and Island and XpoNorth and offers students specialist training, industry workshops, networking opportunities and professional support upon graduation to enter the sector.

Alex Smith of XpoNorth said: “After a hugely successful initial pilot of the UHI LevelUp! programme, we’re delighted to have worked with the innovative team at the university to expand and develop the project further, allowing us to offer a broader range of opportunities to their creative industry student networks. The key aim of the partnership is to support students to prepare for a career in the sector and gain insights, mentorship, specialist advice and access to networks which can support them to better understand and explore professional opportunities.

“With the creative industries and wider economy still feeling the effects of the pandemic, it is more important than ever that students and commercial outlets connect to develop career pathways for future talent entering the marketplace.”

More than 60 students across the UHI campuses took part in the program last year, receiving specialist 1-2-1 mentorship in their creative industries.

Ellie McLaren, who took part in the trial programs last year, graduated from the University of the Highlands and Islands with a First Class BA (Hons) Applied Music degree and is now studying towards a Masters degree in marketing.

She also teaches the fiddle to private pupils and was recently commissioned to perform a new arrangement at the Celtic Connections festival.

Ellie said: “I wanted to take part in the LevelUp! program as I was able to see the great opportunities it could hold for someone like me. The industry advice alone was enough to convince me to take part. My experience with LevelUp! was enhanced by the role of Student Ambassador which was offered to me by XpoNorth. I worked alongside them for three months on the lead up to my graduation, with the aim of encouragement and reaching out to students in order to get them to engage with XpoNorth’s activities and the wealth of knowledge they have as an organisation.

“I feel that the most important skill which I have learned from LevelUp! is to put myself out there and speak to people. LevelUp! showed me that it’s sometimes who you know, and networking is so valuable. I’d certainly recommend the LevelUp! program to any student who is perhaps looking for that piece of advice when transitioning from being a full-time student to making a career or beginning work, as XpoNorth and LevelUp! offer so many opportunities.”

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

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