With eight different nationalities studying and carrying out research at Lews Castle College in the Engineering Section alone and with growing numbers of students Stornoway is fast on it’s way to becoming a University Town.
As the Diamond Anniversary approaches in 2013 the college has come a long way from its humble beginning with 93 students enrolled and nine full time staff.
The College now host and impressive 2,700 students – enrolled over the 150 full time, part time and on-line courses – and employs 130 people throughout the Western Isles.
Iain Macmillan, Principal and Chief Executive of Lews Castle College UHI explained: “Lews Castle College has always been a college with strong international links through the skills developed by local people at the college which helped them gain well paid employment in the Merchant Navy and Energy Industries.
“The employment gained by our graduates in these sectors has been of crucial importance to the local economy, over the years, as the vast majority of people following these career paths – after completing their studies at Lews Castle - continued to maintain their homes and families in the islands and inject significant income into the local economy.”
He added: “The numbers involved [in the college] continue to grow and this trend is projected to increase in the next few years – not just in Stornoway but also in Uist through the Traditional Music and Fine Art degree programmes being delivered in Uist through the University of the Highlands and Islands.”
Beni Vogelli, who came to the College from Zurich University, is just one of the international students attending Lews College.
He is working on the development of low cost wind turbines which could be used to provide cheap energy in developing counties.
Originally a carpenter Beni is now focussing on developing a career in Engineering. He has designed his turbine to be easily reproduced in counties were typically material are expensive or inaccessible and labour is traditional cheap.
The turbine he has designed is made from material that would be easy and cheap to source.
Two of the college’s Engineering Lecturers Roddy Ferguson and Imran Rizvi have recently returned from a recruitment visit to the South of France where they met with staff and students from two local colleges who have expressed an interest in coming to Lewis to continue their studies.
The main area of interest being the Energy Engineering degree available at Lews Castle College UHI through the University of the Higlands and Islands.
At one of these colleges over 200 French students attended the presentation on the opportunities available at Lews Castle College UHI.