1. Why I applied to Saltire

I was sat in a lecture theatre, expecting a colourless lecture on business sustainability, which all prospective engineers had to enrol in, when the careers advisor for Heriot-Watt walked in and introduced himself to the class. The introduction was brief, and he swiftly shifted our attention to the five or six students stood at the foot of the room. “These young men and women have been Saltire Scholars,” he said.  “You might be interested in what they have to say. They’ve completed internships around the world, had opportunities to engage with leaders in their future industries, and enjoyed a plethora of cultural experiences - all in one summer.”

Okay, Saltire Scholars, you have my attention. Despite the Saltire Foundation exponentially growing its yearly applicants, I had not heard anything from anyone about the charity until now. On top of their experiences, the previous scholars described how the entire trip is funded by the Saltire Foundation. Flights, visa, and accommodation are all paid for, as well as a weekly stipend direct to your bank. I was already thinking about internships at this point, and this just seemed too good to be true.

Why I chose Saltire?

My ultimate goal is to become fluent in forward-thinking with regards to engineering technology, with a focus on artificial intelligence and automation, and eventually become a key role in an existing enterprise or build my own. Becoming a Saltire Scholar will provide options to network with world leaders in engineering and truly get a feel for the operations management in the field. There will be chances to lead and learn whilst working alongside people who share my passion. The ability to network with alumni in the fields I’m most interested in around the world will provide ample opportunities after university and ultimately broaden my horizons. (Hint for applicants: extracted from part of one of my competency question answers)

Advice for application

At this point, if you are reading this blog post, you are probably considering applying to Saltire, or already have applied. Even if you have already applied, the following will still be relevant to your speed interviews should you make it into the candidate pool. Here is the best advice I can think of when approaching your competency based application questions.

  1. Why do you want this scholarship? If you are only applying because you want to travel, you are going to have a tough time trying to persuade anyone that you are a good candidate. Travelling to different parts of the world is a fantastic opportunity, but it should not be the sole reason for applying. Consider networking opportunities, business understanding, personal growth, increased responsibility, and cultural experiences.

  2. Look to the future. Talk about your aspirations - hopefully they are entrepreneurial - and how they relate to what Saltire can offer you.

  3. What you can give back to Scotland? An unlikely candidate will be one who focuses entirely on themselves and on the internship abroad they want. Instead, consider what you will do for Scotland after graduation with the new skills you have developed and connections you have made. Saltire allow all scholars to apply to become ambassadors for the charity after your internship for years to come. These ambassadors are there for new applicants to question and gain mentorship, as well as promote the charity in any way they can.

That will wrap up the first blog post. Check out my next post for advice on the two fifteen-minute interviews with a Saltire Alumni and a Saltire employee. Good luck!


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Written on June 1, 2018