Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross
Lochaber is home to Fort William which sits at the foot of Ben Nevis, the highest peak in Britain! Wester Ross makes up much of the West Highlands, with the island of Skye located off the west coast. The total population across this area is just over 39,000.
Unsurprisingly, the biggest sector here is tourism, which accounts for 35% of employment.
It’s an area where outdoor pursuits are key thanks to the stunning scenery on offer. As well as Ben Nevis, Skye’s famous mountain range, the Cuillins, is well-loved by ramblers and photographers alike. For animal lovers there are boat trips which offer the chance to see dolphins, seals and sometimes even whales.
High-end food and drink is a big pull here thanks to the famous ‘natural larder’, including Skye’s famous restaurant ‘The Three Chimneys’ as well as a number of whisky distilleries in the area.
It’s not all about tourism though; the creative industries are flourishing, particularly TV and film.
Moray is situated in the north-east of Scotland. Elgin sits at its heart, with Forres in the west, Keith and Buckie in the east and the coastal villages of Findhorn and Lossiemouth to the north. The Cairngorms National Park can also be found here. The area has a total population of over 90,000.
Food and drink production makes up nearly a fifth of Moray’s Gross Value Added, compared with 3% in Scotland. It is home to some of the world's leading brands of whisky as well as the Malt Whisky Trail, and major food brands Walkers Shortbread and Baxters Food Group are headquartered here.
There are excellent facilities for SMEs in the Enterprise Park, Forres a business park set within 100-acres of landscaped, sustainable grounds.
The Western Isles, also known as the Outer Hebrides or Innse Gall, is an island chain off the north west of Scotland where Gaelic is predominantly spoken. The Hebrides are known as the “long island” as they stretch for over 100 miles boasting a population of just over 26,000. Islands include Lewis, Harris and Barra.
Renewables is a key sector as the location is very exposed to the elements - especially wind and wave. Tourism also plays a big part thanks to the scenery, wildlife and prehistoric stone circles, such as the famous Callanish Stones on the Isle of Lewis. Also on Lewis, the international Hebridean Celtic music festival (HebCelt) takes place each year and attracted almost 16,000 people in 2017.
Perhaps one of Scotland’s best-known brands is Harris Tweed, based on the Isle of Harris.
Argyll & Islands
Located in the south-west of Scotland, it’s the closest location to the central belt, with excellent transport links to Glasgow. The largest towns are Campbeltown, Dunoon, Lochgilphead and Oban. There are 23 inhabited islands in this region, and the population is just over 70,000.
It’s renowned for its scenery, wildlife and biodiversity and is home to the European Marine Science Park located three miles east of Oban.
There are over 60 medieval castles and numerous world-class distilleries. It’s a real outdoors place with munros to bag, beaches to explore and seas to sail and surf!
So where will you choose?
We hope you’ve enjoyed this whistle-stop tour of the Highlands and Islands! Should you start a placement in any one of these locations you’ll join a strong community and some of Scotland’s most stunning scenery will be on your doorstep, the perfect way to enjoy work-life balance.
If you’re interested in applying for a student placement in the Highlands and Islands this summer take a look here where all our placements are listed as they go live. Graduate placements are advertised throughout the year. Never miss an update by registering with us.