A range of 'state-of-the-art, innovative, engineering degrees was launched in Stornoway today. 

The keynote speaker at the launch was Former UK Secretary of State for Energy and Scottish Office Minister for Innovation and Education – Mr Brian Wilson.

Mr Wilson praised the work of Lews Castle College UHI for the way 'iit has proved to be one of the best investments that any government has made in the islands' and the way that 'Lews Castle is not on the fringe of the University of the Highlands and Islands but at its centre, having played a leading role in the establishing the design and content of the new Engineering Degree courses and in setting the standard of excellence that it guarantees to provide'.

"The UHI Engineering degrees will be on a par with any in the country and that is the critical message which must be communicated to the competitive market place of Higher Education," added Mr Wilson.

The new degrees are major new departure for both Lews Castle College UHI and The University of the Highlands and Islands.

They have been designed for the first time to make full use of all our extensive expertise which encompasses subject leaders from all over Scotland in the 13 UHI partners. An extensive consultancy programme with industry and other educational establishments means that the degrees incorporate the very latest in high-technology and engineering subjects at a high level and makes the courses directly comparable to the best available anywhere.

This will also be the first time that the University of the Highlands and Islands has run a full four-year Engineering degree programmes and will build on the success of the earlier Energy Engineering degree course. Mr Wilson highlighted the work that Lews Castle has put in to creating links with companies such as Harris Tweed Hebrides and Lewis Windpower through Graduate Placements, Research and other innovative initiatives . These initiatives will reach their next stage, later this year, with the Official Opening of The Innovation Hub at Lews Castle College UHI’S Stornoway campus. 

“Engineering , in all its forms, is the key to economic development in the islands," said Mr Wilson.

"Engineering is what makes the world go round. The potential does not end with students gaining their degrees. Once the new Engineering courses become established, spin offs will follow and the opening of the new Innovation Hub at Lews Castle will help develop technology –based business ideas . This will act as the catalyst which links the research ,skills and talent of  the students and Graduates of Lews Castle  with the resources and practicalities of the Hebridean edonomy," added Mr Wilson.

Mr Wilson also highlighted the way that Lews Castle Graduates are gaining work experience with some of the world’s biggest windfarm developers – which continued this month with Lewis Windpower announcing further Graduate Work Placements for Lews Castle College UHI students .

“These placements linked to other Graduate work placements being sponsored by Harris Tweed Hebrides demonstrate the confidence that the Private sector is now showing in the skills that Lews Castle College UHI is developing in the islands," he said.

The degrees are aimed at high achieving students with excellent entrance qualifications and will ensure that a new generation of highly skilled and motivated graduates enters the island workplace which has the potential to have a transformative effect on the local economy.    

Listed below are some of the unique aspects of the degrees:

• New four-year degree structure for the design, development and research sectors.

• State-of-the-art degree in engineering 

• A route to high level Engineering jobs including opportunities in Energy, Aerospace Engineering, Oil and Gas, Automotive Engineering, Research and Development, Electronics, Computer Engineering, Communications and many other high technology sectors.  

• Degrees designed and supported by leading experts from all over Scotland as part of the UHI network of 13 partners.

• Opportunities to study elsewhere in Scotland as part of the UHI network.

• Local support and friendly staff.

• Degree which are accredited by Professional Bodies

The degree titles are given below (availability of each depends on student demand):

BEng (Hons) / MEng Energy Engineering  

BEng (Hons) / MEng Mechanical Engineering

BEng (Hons) / MEng Electrical and Electronics Engineering

BEng (Hons) / MEng Mechanical and Electrical Engineering

BEng (Hons) / MEng Aerospace Engineering