Graduates & Students

Moving to the Highlands and Islands

Three ScotGrad graduates share their experiences of moving to the Highlands and Islands. Would you like to work there? Read this before you make up your mind.

Published: 09/08/2016

For a lot of students and graduates the idea of moving to a rural area for work is a no go.  Others see it as an exciting opportunity for adventure. So for those who have reservations about heading to ‘the back of beyond’ here are the views of three of our graduates who have done just that.

Grace, Rachel and Claire have all moved to the Highlands or Islands to undertake a ScotGrad  graduate placement and they are happy to share their experiences so far.

Moving to Highlands and Islands

Where is your placement located and where did you live before?

Grace: “My ScotGrad placement is in Tobermory on the Isle of Mull. I am working in the Mull Aquarium. Before moving to Scotland I was living in Plymouth in the South of England”.

Rachel: “I’m doing my ScotGrad placement in Bonar Bridge, Sutherland with The Ardgay Game Factory Ltd. I moved up from my home in North Yorkshire where I had been living temporarily since moving back from Chamonix, France”.

Claire: “My placement is with the Archaeology Section of the Shetland Amenity Trust located in Lerwick, Shetland. I moved to Shetland from Aberdeen where I was studying for my PhD in Archaeology at the University of Aberdeen”.

What do you like most about your new location?

Grace: “I like the close knit community feel. Everyone is so friendly and willing to help you with anything should you need it”.

Rachel: “I love living near the beach, sea and mountains at the same time. There is such a diverse landscape up here!”

Claire: “Shetland is a beautiful island with lots to do and see and I have really enjoyed exploring. The archaeological sites, wildlife and scenery are spectacular and I have been really surprised by the amount and variety of events and activities on offer from crafting workshops to evening lectures and concerts. I am really looking forward to Up Helly Aa in January”.

Did you face any challenges when moving? 

Grace: “The most challenging thing about moving to Mull was finding somewhere to live. There were limited rental properties on Mull but I found a solution eventually.

Rachel: “Mainly trying to pack all my belongings into my car to make the 7 hour journey up north! Leaving my friends and family behind has been hard but they've all been very supportive which makes it much easier”.

Claire: “The biggest challenge was finding accommodation and I relied on the local knowledge and help of my new colleagues to find somewhere suitable”.

What advice would you give someone about moving to the Highlands or Islands?

Grace: “Despite that one setback for me, I would definitely encourage anyone thinking about moving to the Highlands or Islands to just go for it. It's such a beautiful area of the country to live in, and I find working up here very rewarding. I would advise others to prepare themselves to stay, find somewhere good to live, as it will be hard to leave once you’re hooked on the Highlands”

Rachel:  “Embrace the great outdoors! There is so much to explore. Including a fantastic array of local artisan food and drink.”

Claire:  “Get involved and join a local group or club as they are a great way to meet people and make friends. There are often more events, groups and clubs in rural communities and they offer a fantastic opportunity to learn a new craft, sport or take up a new interest. Moving can feel very daunting and isolating at first but joining a local club and meeting people helps to make it feel like home sooner”.

Hopefully the views of Grace, Rachel and Claire give a flavour of the feedback we get from our ScotGrad graduates. To summarise, working in the Highlands and Islands is an exciting opportunity to experience:

  • Close knit communities
  • Beautiful landscapes
  • Nature on your doorstep 
  • Endless opportunities for outdoor adventures

To take a walk on the wild side and keep an eye on our placement opportunities.