Getting Started as a Saltire Scholar

Hi! I’m Ellis, studying Mechanical Design Engineering at the University of Glasgow. After hearing about the Saltire Scholar programme many months ago, I was super keen to get involved as I loved the idea of encouraging and supporting Scottish students to improve the future of Scotland! After applying online and having an interview with the programme, I was lucky enough to get moved into the Candidate Pool.

Every two weeks (or so) a new list of internship opportunities was posted for us to apply to easily, only sending in our CV and a cover letter. Seeing each list, I really had to think about where I could apply my skills and which companies I could apply to. Considering all my transferable skills (from university, from extracurricular activities, hobbies, everything!) so that I could apply to a very wide range of different opportunities, there were so many different interesting companies for us to apply to! For anyone applying in the future, I would definitely recommend just going for it and applying to anything that looks interesting that you can see yourself fitting into.

I applied to almost every list, through six different rounds, and got an amazing company at the absolute last minute – so always persevere! You never know what’s around the corner and being turned down for one thing means that something great can open up. Entrepreneurial Scotland made it such an easy and stress-free process, dealing with all the important paperwork for us

Applying this year, I think everyone was expecting their internship to be remote online, however I didn’t expect working in a US time zone! I have been working as a Mobile App Developer for The @ Company, which is a start-up tech company in Silicon Valley, who in 2019 began as an international fully virtual company (so ahead of their time!) all about rebuilding the internet into a completely data private space, in an easy and fun way.

It was just under a week before the start date that I was told that I had got the job – and starting off I was nervous and excited to begin my journey as an official Saltire Scholar. I wasn’t sure what the internship fully consisted of, I didn’t know the coding language they used, it was a different time zone, it seemed slightly daunting.

However, luckily, I wasn’t going in alone and there was another Glasgow student accepted, so we could talk about the process and know that we were on the same page. There was also an online Saltire Scholar Zoom where we could meet other interns, chat to previous Saltire Scholars, and clear up any questions we had about the process. This was a great way to become more familiar of what was ahead for us now that we were accepted onto the programme, and how we can be involved with Entrepreneurial Scotland in the future. Now that I was all set as a Saltire Scholar, I just had to complete the actual internship! This ended up being the perfect summer internship – due to the US time zone I didn’t have any complaints starting work at 12, and I was lucky enough to be able to have a decent set up in my room to get my work done.

Written by: Ellis Laird,