Working in Scotland
I remember the first time I visited Scotland. As the tourist coach drew to a halt on Edinburgh’s Princes Street, I saw a vibrant city bustling with people from all over the world, with the striking contrast of the Old Town and New Town skylines on either side. Instantly, I knew that I wanted to make Scotland my home.
Since then, I have built a career and raised a family here. My working life has spanned publishing, construction, translation and aquaculture. But there’s a common theme running through these varied roles: Scotland has never failed to provide me with opportunities to learn, to progress, to work with fascinating people and projects, and to be rewarded for my efforts. I’m now Head of Marketing & Communications for SAIC, an innovation centre funded by the Scottish Government – an example of the willingness of Scotland’s public and private sectors to collaborate on vital research and development.
What do people associate with Scotland? Ancient castles, misty lochs, majestic stags, colourful tartans, world-renowned whisky and salmon. And yes – all those things are here, they’re within reach, and they’re fantastic. But many people don’t realise how cutting-edge Scotland is now: the entrepreneurial spirit, the world-leading innovation, the vast range of career opportunities in science, tech, gaming and data. These high-growth sectors, and many others, are open and eager to welcome talented people from wherever you are.
Living in Scotland
From a practical point of view, living in Scotland has been completely straightforward. I’ve retained my Norwegian citizenship, but in terms of getting a driving licence, gaining employment, buying and selling houses, accessing high-quality healthcare and education for my children – there’s never been a hitch. And I can’t think of a single time when I haven’t felt entirely welcome.
While many things are different from the culture I grew up in, there are also similarities: the typically wry and self-mocking humour of the Scots is like that of northern Norwegians; the stunning mountains, forests and beaches provide the outdoor life I would otherwise have missed. These things have made Scotland a true home away from home.
I have been incredibly fortunate throughout lockdown; working from my home in Doune, a semi-rural town close to Stirling. That means I’ve been able to spend more time with my family, and our daily dog-walks in the beautiful woods and hills nearby – full of wildlife and ever-changing views – have made me feel even more connected to where I live.