Kirsty Buchanan and Gary Hogan
Kirsty Buchanan

By Kirsty Buchanan, Interface Business Engagement Executive, Highlands and Islands.

As part of our “Meet the team” series, this week we put a few questions to one of our newest recruit, Kirsty Buchanan (pictured with Gary Hogan), who joined from the University of the Highlands and Islands to engage with businesses through the region.

When did you start at Interface and what’s your background? 
I am delighted to have joined the Interface Team, based in An Lòchran, HIE, Inverness Campus in March. I have spent the last five years working for Inverness UHI to support companies with their Modern Apprenticeship programmes, raising the profile of apprenticeships. I was also responsible for working closely with companies to identify gaps in company workforce skills while identifying the courses to bridge those gaps, and assisting with funding to support the required training. My experience has brought me excellent knowledge and understanding of working with different academic and curriculum departments in a Higher Education Institution, different funding for workforce training, and the ability to support companies across the region to actively engage and navigate through the education sector; this has positioned me well for my new role with Interface, enabling me to offer added value when assisting and supporting industry and academic collaborations.

What attracted you to the position?
The opportunity to work with all sectors across all Scotland’s universities.

What does your role incorporate?
As part of Interface’s Enhance Service, my role is to support our clients with additional project outcomes, and I do this by working closely with our clients to drive their current projects with universities or research institutions. I can also help to identify ways where we can continue to grow current projects, or to establish new project outcomes, while finding the mechanisms to support continued collaboration.
Part of my service includes assisting our clients with academic meetings and negotiations, finding additional sources of funding, and finding additional avenues of support with colleagues in Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

What does a typical day look like?
As a new member of the team, I am mostly introducing myself to clients which would benefit from Interface’s enhanced support, while spending time familiarising myself with our systems and processes. I am currently reading and identifying different funding streams, reading up on previous projects, establishing additional avenues of business support and getting to know my new colleagues, all of which will enable me to offer the best support and advice to our clients.

What do you like most about the role?
Working with Interface keeps my inquisitive mind busy. It also gives me a lot of motivation and satisfaction to support our clients with their business problems, goals and ambitions and matching this with the best academic expertise, which of course feeds in to Scotland’s wider successes.

What advice would you give businesses which want to collaborate with academic expertise?
Establish your key Interface contact and keep that person well informed of your academic and project communications, meetings and progression, this will enable us to stay on track with key milestones and identify opportunities, key questions and areas that our clients may not have thought of. I would say Interface definitely has ‘best practice’ processes going on; we are open, communicative and have a great sharing culture, enabling your Interface contact to tap into a wealth of information to find ways to offer you the best support possible.

What three words sum you up?
Inquisitive, proactive and energetic!

21 May 2018

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