Archie Grant - Network Rail

Archie Grant is currently in his fourth year studying Chemical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde, where he is due to graduate in September 2022.

Archie embarked on the Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Scholar Programme in 2020. The world-class internship programme gives students who are studying at a Scottish University an opportunity to undertake a commercially viable project in their penultimate year of study. It aims to find, fuel and spark the next generation of leaders for Scotland.

For Archie, that meant spending 8 weeks on an internship at Network Rail.



Having heard about the Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Scholar Programme through a number of different people on his Chemical Engineering course, Archie thought it sounded like a really positive opportunity.

Archie saw the programme as a chance to also try something different and sought out a placement that wasn’t focused on his own discipline of Chemical Engineering.

He says; “I set out to use the opportunity to broaden my scope. I thought the Saltire Scholar programme was a good place to do that, as their placements were quite diverse and offered from lots of different companies.”

Archie took up his internship with Network Rail. There, he worked with the operations team on a project to support a new system that set out to help reduce delays on the railway.

Archie explains; “Network Rail get fined for every train that’s late or delayed, so the project I was helping with was trying to reduce any delays. The project used Microsoft Power BI to collate and analyse all the data and identify any trends.

I’d heard from a number of people and it sounded like a really good thing. I also read some blogs written by people who’d been on the programme themselves, and I felt it sounded like a really good starting point for gaining some experience. I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to get some experience in a professional working environment, while I’m still at university. I felt it could offer a great springboard for my career.


Archie gained significant benefits from his time on the Entrepreneurial Scotland Saltire Scholar Programme, acquiring both practical business skills, as well as a greater understanding of ways in which an entrepreneurial mindset can be of value in many types of businesses.

He says; “I learnt a lot of beneficial business skills on my internship. For example, I got to really understand what it’s like to communicate among teams within a large organisation. I’d only really worked as part of a small team on university projects so that was something completely different for me. On a practical level, it also allowed me to build my experience in data analysis, operating software and technical systems which are very transferable skills to have.”

Archie also drew on opportunities to understand and gain insight into the entrepreneurial mindset, both at Network Rail, and through the wider Entrepreneurial Scotland network. As part of the programme, Archie got the chance to speak to one of the programme’s sponsors – John Watson, OBE, the renowned printing entrepreneur.

Archie explains; “Getting the chance to speak to John and learn about what it’s like to run a business first-hand was pivotal for me. It reaffirmed my ambition to start my own business somewhere down the line, but he also opened my eyes to the challenges that come with starting and growing your own business. His advice was really valuable. He explained that when you have your own business, it’s more than a full-time job – you really live and breathe it.”

Following his internship at Network Rail, Archie continues to gain from the Saltire Internship, something he hadn’t thought about before embarking on the programme. Archie is now one of the brand ambassadors for the Saltire Scholar Programme, helping to promote the programme, organise events, and conducting some of the speed interviews with candidates applying for the next intake.

Archie says; “My role as a brand ambassador has been of real benefit. It’s a great skill I can take to an employer, and I’ve enjoyed being able to give back to the people who have supported and helped me so much through the internship.

Archie talks a lot about the confidence and connections he gained both on the Saltire Internship and in his continued support as a brand ambassador. He concludes; “I started out on the programme, not knowing how much I’d learn. I expected to learn about entrepreneurship and knew there would be benefits to the internship and practical skills gained there, but there have been so many other things that came with the experience that I hadn’t thought about - the network and contacts I’ve made and the advice they have given me, the ongoing support from the team at Entrepreneurial Scotland, and the confidence I’ve gained as a result. I also think that having the chance to volunteer as a Brand Ambassador and give something back has really benefited me too.”

I think it’s really important to be given these opportunities. It’s certainly broadened my horizons. Developing the skills that the Saltire Scholar programme gives you are so beneficial. It comes with so much more that can’t always be gained at an academic institute. It gives you the confidence boost and the CV boost, along with such a diverse range of contacts – from the internship, to the sponsors, to the team at Entrepreneurial Scotland. It’s pushed me to have more confidence to apply for roles out-with chemical engineering, and it’s given me even more drive to work toward setting up my own business one day.


If you would like to talk to Entrepreneurial Scotland about hosting a Saltire Scholar, and how this can benefit your business, please email:

If you would like to become a Saltire Scholar, find out more here.