Iain MacCallum
Science and Technology at Stow College (2004-5). * Graduated from University of Glasgow with a degree in Civil Engineering (2009). * Now employed in the Renewable Energies field in Glasgow
Iain sums himself up as a “classic underachiever” at school.  Although he enjoyed school to a certain extent and never really struggled academically, he was admittedly a bit hyperactive with “a very short attention span”. He was not without ambition, however. He had in mind a plan to become an electrician and, after achieving a few Highers (“as few as possible”), he got an apprenticeship and started working in the electricians’ trade.   

Unfortunately, his apprentice wages weren't enough to support him living on his own in Glasgow so, after a year’s apprenticeship, he decided to take another route. He took a sales-oriented job at a busy optician’s office in Glasgow City Centre. He received on-the-job training and did very well in sales so, after a year, he was offered a job as assistant manager. However, being good at salesmanship did not necessarily equate to enjoying a career in sales, so he opted instead to take up related work as a dispensing optician in domiciliary eye care, looking after elderly patients and others in care homes. This, in turn, led him to consider pursuing a qualification in Optometry.

Iain decided to attend an Open Day at a local university to find out about the requirements for entry. The admissions officer directed him to SWAP – particularly to the Access to Science and Technology programme at Stow College. He soon realised that there were many possible progression routes from this Access Programme and, after careful consideration, decided to aim for Engineering rather than Optometry.  He completed the Access Programme with distinction, achieving merits in both the Higher and Advanced Higher Maths. 
“I never bothered my backside when I was at school but at college I put my head down, I worked really  hard, and I did quite well.”   

With encouragement from his college tutor, he realised that the Maths he had done as part of his SWAP programme were advanced enough to qualify him for university-level engineering courses.  He applied to and received offers from three local universities, including the University of Glasgow where he enrolled and completed his BEng in Civil Engineering in 2009. He is now employed as a Civil Engineer and Site Manager for a global renewable energies company.
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