A new direction for sustainable development – article by Colin Campbell

Colin CampbellColin Campbell graduated from Edinburgh Napier University with a BSc (Hons) Science with Business Studies in 1987. He lived in Spain for 8 years running his own language school there before returning to Scotland to work in the Third Sector. In 2004, he set up Assist Social Capital CIC (ASC) as a bridge between academic evidence for the importance of social capital and its practical application. Initially set up as a Company Ltd by Guarantee with Charitable Status, in 2013 ASC became the first Scottish Charity to transfer to Community Interest Company (CIC) status.

Introduction to ASC

Research demonstrates that communities with high levels of social capital tend to benefit from lower crime figures, better health, higher educational achievement and better economic growth. Social capital can provide an underpinning framework to ensure replicability together with appropriate contextualization alongside the opportunity to gather evidence of outcomes and impact. ASC was set up to act as a bridge between the academic evidence of the benefits of social capital and its practical application.

Our work focuses on evaluation, policy, programmes and activities that promote social capital such as social enterprise and public participation. We are involved in delivering on projects covering the environment, health and wellbeing and lifelong learning. We are one of 5 organisations being supported by the Scottish Government’s International Social Enterprise Programme and a co-founder of the Social Capital World Forum, which next takes place in Scotland in April 2016.

ASC works with government agencies, research institutes and civil society organisations in Scotland the UK, Canada, Austria, Spain, Sweden and Asia.

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Josh Quigley: The Tartan Explorer

With his own successful business,  Josh Quigley seemed well on his way to becoming an entrepreneurial success. Unbeknown to everyone though, Josh was struggling with his mental health. Read more his battle with depression and his journey as the Tartan Explorer. 

Josh Quigley

In 2010, Josh Quigley started at Edinburgh Napier University as a Business student, with dreams of becoming an entrepreneurial success. 6 years later, his dream has come true. However, Josh’s journey to success has been far from easy behind the scenes.

Josh left university after his first year to work full-time and gain some experience before continuing his studies in business at Stevenson College. This led Josh back to Edinburgh Napier in 2013 when he joined as a bright and confident, 3rd year Marketing & Management student.

Josh has always had an entrepreneurial spark from a young age, he was fascinated with how businesses worked. This passion inspired him to set up his own incredibly successful digital marketing business during his 3rd year, Sharkdog, which won Josh the ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2015” at the Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards. However, the success of the business combined with everyday stresses of life began to take their toll on Josh’s mental health. Feelings of loneliness, and isolation became overwhelming and Josh lost his sense of who he was. The enthusiastic, intelligent young man who once had a true lust for life, could only see one way out.

 On 26th May 2015, Josh decided to end his life.

Josh in hospital

“All I wanted was to be happy, to enjoy life. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t imagine ever feeling happy again. I felt like I was trapped in a corner and I only had one option. I wanted it all to end. I wanted it to be over. I wanted to be dead.”

At 80 mph, Josh intentionally crashed his car into a concrete barrier at the westbound junction of the M8 near Livingston. Miraculously however, he walked away from the crash with no physical injuries.

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Student Grant Initiative: My experience in Tanzania – article by Ryan Latto

Thank you to all our graduates who continue to fund the Student Grant Initiative (SGI) – your generosity now allows us to award over £30,000 a year to innovative student projects. The Initiative showcases the talent and ambition of Edinburgh Napier Students as well as having a positive impact on local and international communities.  Please click here if you would like to make a donation.

 Ryan Latto, BN Nursing, recently returned from Moshi in Tanzania where he completed a four week placement with First Aid Africa thanks to support from the SGI:

SGI - Ryan Latto

 “The moment I heard about First Aid Africa I knew I had to take part. This Edinburgh based charity gave me the opportunity to travel to Moshi in Tanzania, at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro, to teach essential first aid skills. We first arrived at our placement after a few days on intense induction and we were excited to see how the next four weeks would pan out.

Our placement was a large secondary school housing 3,000 students eager to learn and head off to university. Developing our teaching strategy was the first challenge, having to teach in classes of 40 to 120 students of all ages. Immediately we found the teaching space limiting. However, many of the students were receptive to our classes, approaching the practical demonstrations with a lot of enthusiasm, creativity and humour despite the limited space. More importantly the students asked questions about why we treat injuries in certain ways and we talked a lot about the difference between what we taught and how they approached injury in their own culture.

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The China Teaching Experience, and how it came to be: – article by Andrew Graham

Psychology graduate Andrew Graham, decided to travel across China for 10 months after finishing university in 2013. Nearly three years later, the 27 year old is now Director of his own company, The China Teaching Experience. Read about his experience below and how living abroad changed his life! 

Upon graduating from Edinburgh Napier University, I decided to set off for China to experience something different. I enjoyed a fascinating 10 months, which ended up changing my life considerably! Throughout the year, I travelled the length and breadth of the country, met some extremely interesting people, and found myself in some even more interesting, and indeed bizarre situations! I also saw a market for a little start-up company – recruiting others to come out to China and teach English.

So over a number of months, I built up a network of contacts, composed somewhat of a business plan, and put together a website. I came back to England, registered a Limited company, opened a bank account, and began contacting universities throughout the UK about y opportunities. Before long, I was receiving applications from all over the country. Through a carefully put-together system of co-operation with the China Education Association for International Exchange (Chinese Ministry of Education affiliated & Beijing-based), I began placing these applicants at various schools and universities across China. And so, The China Teaching Experience was born! The company has since gone from strength to strength, and we are currently marketing for our third year of opportunities.

CTE Image 2

I have always had quite an interest in business. From as far back as I can remember, I was buying and selling all kinds of everything. I had always hoped to one day start something bigger, but was a little unsure what exactly it was going to be. Such seeds of entrepreneurship flourished while at Edinburgh Napier University. It might sound funny, but Napier’s co-curricular module ‘Starting a New Business’ is probably what gave me the confidence to start the company. I took the module in my second year of a Psychology degree, and remember feeling encouraged at how easy it seemed to start a business. Had I never taken that module, The China Teaching Experience probably wouldn’t exist today.

Going to China for 10 months was the single best thing I’ve done to date. It changed everything for me: I came back a different person, a better person, with a fresh outlook and perspective of the world. We only get one life. What a shame it would be to spend it all in just one place, or to experience just one culture. We are in an age of travel. Companies like ourselves have made it very easy for anybody to live on the far side of the planet for a year. I think one would have to be crazy not to take advantage of that. I am extremely passionate about the opportunities we provide, and welcome with open arms an application from anybody looking to change their life forever.

CTE 2016

Are you interested in applying to The China Teaching Experience? You can apply for the August 2016 programme now!
To apply, please visit: http://chinateachingexperience.com/

Two graduations and a traineeship – article by Eilidh Syme

Eilidh Syme is 24 years old and from Crieff, Scotland. She has just completed her Graduate Traineeship and has been accepted for an internship in New York by the prestigious Mountbatten Institute. Here she describes her experiences as both a student, employee and alumnus of Edinburgh Napier University. 


Two degrees, two graduations, three years apart!


I graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2012 with a BA (Hons) Business Management with Marketing with First Class Honours. Just a few weeks ago,  I graduated from the University once again; this time as a staff member and with an MSc in Management with Marketing.

When I graduated with my BA, I had nothing lined up and I remember feeling so lost because I had no idea where I wanted to work or what I wanted to do. I applied for a handful of jobs, but was never offered them; “there was a candidate with more experience” was the usual feedback. But my mum kept saying the same few phrases which kept me going: “Good things come to those who wait” and “What’s for you, won’t go by you”. Continue Reading →

Edinburgh Napier Takes Manhattan! – article by Leigh Dilks

This article was contributed by Head of Alumni & Events at Edinburgh Napier University, Leigh Dilks. Leigh has worked in alumni relations since 2004 and is also a current student, studying an MSc in Management. You can contact Leigh via email: l.dilks@napier.ac.uk.

Leigh Dilks

Leigh Dilks

In 2009, we decided that we wanted to do more to engage with our alumni based in the United States. Scotland Week, seemed like the ideal opportunity for Edinburgh Napier to grow it’s alumni association in the USA, and participate in a seven day celebration of Scottish heritage and culture. There are approximately 6 million people in the United States who claim Scottish descent and we have over a thousand graduates currently living there. Continue Reading →

Pipes of Christmas – alumni article by Jason Hite

The 16th annual Pipes of Christmas concert took place on 20 & 21 December in  the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church. It was produced by the Clan Currie Society of America and sponsored by the University. In 2013, an Edinburgh Napier University student performed at the concert and this year, the musical extravaganza was again met with rave reviews. Alumni and University representatives were in rapt attendance at this pre-Christmas treat. Here, alumnus Jason Hite describes the experience. 

In December, my family and I spent the weekend before Christmas in New York City and attended the Pipes of Christmas concert, sponsored by Edinburgh Napier University.  Of all the places I’ve been around the world, New York City always feels as like the quintessential Christmas destination to me.  We were only there for three days, but it was a trip we will remember for years to come.

The streets were bustling with people running between stores carrying presents.  All of the major stores had ornate Christmas displays in their windows.  At the corner of every other street was a vendor selling roasted chestnuts that you could smell blocks away.  The whole experience was like walking through the set of a Christmas movie.

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Happy New Year and welcome to our brand new blog!

2014 was an incredible year for Edinburgh Napier University. Our 50th anniversary year provided the ideal opportunity for exploring our history and connecting with our extended community. Our Alumni & Family Day was a particular highlight, with 1500 graduates and their families returning to campus for an afternoon of fun and frolics. We also heard the incredible stories of our 50 Alumni from 50 Years and celebrated with staff and grads turning 50 on our official anniversary date.

Graduates and their families enjoying our Alumni Day, June 28.

Graduates and their families enjoying our Alumni Day, June 28.


Photoshoot on our official anniversary, featuring staff and alumnus Ken Brown - who all turned 50 in 2014.

Photoshoot on our official anniversary, featuring staff and alumnus Ken Brown – who all turned 50 in 2014.

2015 is a new year and we are full of optimism for all that can be achieved. We have launched this new blog as a space to share

  • Graduate good success stories
  • The latest University news 
  •  Invitations to and summaries of alumni events
  • Articles and accounts written by our graduates
  • Photographs and videos, both up-to-date and from the archive

We would love to involve as many of our graduates as possible in this exciting new project!

If you have a way with words or a particular story to tell, either about your time at Edinburgh Napier or your life since, we’d love for you to share it. We are looking for accounts, articles and multimedia content generated by and for our diverse alumni population. This could be:

  • A summary of a University event that you’ve attended
  • A unique insight into your industry or occupation
  • Career or lifestyle advice for current students or other alumni
  • A perspective on current events and contemporary issues in education, politics and beyond
  • A trip down memory lane and a glimpse into your Edinburgh Napier history
Red Nose Day at Craiglockhart, 1991

Red Nose Day at Craiglockhart, 1991

We are also hoping to utilise this platform as a means of promoting you – your work, experiences and successes. We’re looking to compile a catalogue of alumni bloggers, so if you have a site you’d like us to link to, please get in touch!

If you would be interested in contributing in any way, email alumni@napier.ac.uk. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

If you don’t have anything to add, but are looking forward to reading more about your the University and your fellow graduates then watch this space! You can subscribe below and make sure that you never miss a moment.