A STIRLING pupil has taken up a paid internship as part of a scheme for talented young people from under-represented backgrounds.

Laura Buxel, a 16-year-old pupil at St Modan's High School, is the first to be on a paid internship with the University of Stirling as part of a four-week Career Ready placement.

She is working with experts on the Hydro Nation Chair (HNC) programme who are delivering research and innovation to support Scottish Water’s Net Zero strategy. 

Laura has already visited a technology trial at a Scottish Water wastewater treatment works, she will review the recent Scottish Government report Pathways: A new approach for women in entrepreneurship, and interview female entrepreneurs and business leaders.

At the end of her placement Laura, who is from Stirling, will make recommendations to the HNC team on how they can make the HNC Technology Innovation programme more inclusive. 

The programme’s vision is to establish and maintain an agile research and innovation community enabling Scottish Water to transition beyond Net Zero by 2040. 

Laura said: “This internship has been a fantastic opportunity.

“I have enjoyed getting my first taste of a 9-to-5 job and I have gained lots of transferrable skills in interviewing and analysis to aid me in the future.

“It's also been great to meet many new people across the innovation and water sectors, as well as some lovely co-workers.”

Laura was mentored by David Millar, senior innovation fellow in the Hydro Nation Chair Research and Innovation programme. 

David said: “Being a mentor on Career Ready is incredibly rewarding.

“To play such an important role in a young pupil’s development and future pathways is a real privilege.”

David will continue mentoring Laura until she graduates from the programme in April 2024, carrying out regular one-to-one meetings to ensure Laura achieves the goals she has set for herself.

These include confidence building; understanding problem solving approaches; taking advantage of networking opportunities; and identifying career pathways after leaving school.

Career Ready was founded in 2002 by leading business figures to boost social mobility by empowering young people and giving their talents a platform to flourish.

The programme has grown across the UK and reached 200,000 young people, including supporting 30,000 on their high-impact, Career Ready post-16 programme.