Engineering graduate recognised for engineering excellence

Graduate, Jack, has been selected as the winner of a University of the Highlands and Islands’ engineering award. Jack Hamilton (22) from Wick was presented with the Prize for Engineering Excellence.

The prize, donated by Willie Printie, former managing director of LifeScan Scotland, is awarded annually in recognition of academic excellence in engineering. Winners are selected from graduating engineering students from across the university partnership.

Jack, who completed a mechanical engineering BEng degree at North Highland College UHI, was nominated for the award by his programme leader, Dr Pete Hylton. Dr Hylton explained: “Jack was a dedicated student who achieved his degree with distinction while working full time at Dounreay Nuclear Decommissioning. He was given half a day off one day a week to pursue studies. This meant that while the rest of his cohort were able to sit in the classroom for a full day of studies, Jack was only able to be there half of the time and he worked hard to make up for the missed material using the online resources while studying on his own. This makes his effort and achievement even more noteworthy, and certainly qualifies him for this recognition.”

Accepting his award, Jack said: “I enjoyed my time at the University of the Highlands and Islands, working from my national certificate, all the way through to degree level. I was pleased when I was contacted about winning the award, it was nice to receive some recognition for the work I put into my degree.”

Speaking about his prize, Willie said: “I was delighted to meet with Jack via video and congratulate him on receiving his prize. It was great to hear of his academic journey which culminated in his engineering degree success last year. A pre-requisite of the award is that Jack had to start his career as an apprentice then undertake and excel at both further and higher levels of education. 

“Jack’s story was inspiring and demonstrated his determination to follow his dreams and succeed at becoming an engineer. Now, with his degree under his belt, his academic journey may continue as he contemplates what he wants to do now academically and professionally. During our conversation we talked of the importance of lifelong learning. The University of the Highlands and Islands is well placed to provide this for students as it can offer a pathway from leaving school to postgraduate degree level. In my day I had to go to two different colleges and two different universities to achieve the same!

“In supporting the university, I hope to make a difference and enable more students to fulfil their academic potential and achieve their life dreams.”

If you or your organisation are interested in providing or contributing to a prize or scholarship to help a University of the Highlands and Islands student, please contact Alison Wilson by emailing