A MATURE student, who used his learning to develop a successful sea kayaking business, has been named as West Highland College UHI’s Student of the Year.
Mike Martin (30) from Arisaig will graduate with a first class BA (Hons) degree in adventure tourism management from the University of the Highlands and Islands later this week.
After years of working in hotels, Mike decided to follow his passion for the outdoors by taking up the course. He had already gained a number of qualifications in outdoor activity instruction and wanted to add to his learning so he could forge a career in the adventure tourism industry.
As well as meeting the demands of academic study, Mike also completed high-level sea kayaking leadership awards and started work as a coach with Arisaig Sea Kayak Centre during the course of the degree. He is now responsible for running the business, which employs two further University of the Highlands and Islands adventure tourism management students as seasonal guides.
Mike was nominated for the award by his lecturer Alex Williams on behalf of all the School of Adventure Studies staff. She explained: “The team has been impressed by Mike’s quiet maturity, articulation and intelligence, and his consistently high grades which he achieved while running a small business.
“Most importantly, perhaps, he is the best example of a student who has taken every learning opportunity, raised the standard amongst his peers by example and class contribution, and who graduates with a fully-formed, local, successful business within the adventure tourism sector.”
Mike said: “It’s been a great few years at the school of adventure studies; I’ve learned loads, had some great experiences and met some really cool people. Now the real work begins though – running an adventure tourism business isn’t easy, but getting to do what you love every day, I think I can live with that!”
West Highland College UHI principal, Lydia Rohmer, said: “I congratulate Mike on his fantastic achievements. He has not only achieved the highest academic merit for his degree award, but embodies all the graduate qualities we seek to instil in our students, in particular work-readiness, enterprise skills and entrepreneurship.
“A significant number of our graduates contribute to the local economy by setting up their own businesses following graduation, particularly in the buoyant adventure tourism sector, but to develop and run a successful business whilst studying full-time is truly remarkable and exemplary. I wish Mike every success for his future and the future of his business.”
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