Outstanding contribution of NESCol students recognised with SQA Student Awards

October 29, 2021

Eilidh Morrison and Karen Watson have been named as winners of the Scottish Qualifications Authority Student Awards 2021 at North East Scotland College.

Eilidh, who studied HND Applied Science at the City Campus, and Karen, who studied HNC Soft Tissue Therapy at the Fraserburgh Campus, were recognised as part of NESCol’s virtual graduation week.

The awards for colleges provide an opportunity to mark the achievements of outstanding students who have completed elements of an SQA qualification.

NESCol Principal Neil Cowie said: “My congratulations go to Eilidh and Karen for their success and to all those who were nominated. There was an exceptionally high standard and the judging panel did not have an easy task.

“These well-earned awards reflect not only the achievements within College of our 2021 winners but also their contributions to the wider community through volunteering and enterprise. It is always humbling to learn more about the impact our students have not only on those around them at NESCol but on the region as a whole, with Eilidh and Karen demonstrating that.”

Eilidh, who is registered blind and has also been diagnosed with Asperger’s, attended college accompanied by her guide dog Joel. As part of her course she undertook a series of experiments to analyse the content of Joel’s prescription dog food and excelled academically. She has also been heavily involved in a range of voluntary activities for a number of years, including serving as a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament, representing the RNIB youth forum HAGGEYE and actively campaigning to help improve the lives of young people.

Karen began her College journey with the part time evening class Introduction to Sport and Exercise Massage. She progressed to NC level, again an evening class before embarking onto the full-time HNC. She reduced her hours at work to accommodate her study commitments and put in extra hours to master her specialism before setting up her own business in sport and remedial massage. She impressed the judges with her perseverance, commitment and a willingness to support her class mates at NESCol.

Alistair McKay, SQA Regional Manager, said: “In their dedication not only to their studies, but also to helping others, Eilidh and Karen have proven themselves to be worthy recipients of the SQA award. Eilidh is a true inspiration – whilst successfully undertaking an HND Applied Science, she has been a tireless ambassador for other young people with sight loss and has encouraged children into science education through her role as a STEM Ambassador. Karen showed great commitment and resilience as she balanced working life with achieving an NC, an HNC Soft Tissue Therapy and then starting her own business in sport and remedial massage. Congratulations to Eilidh and Karen, from everyone at SQA.”