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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...

This student took his Tinder profile to the next level by turning it into a PowerPoint presentation

February 21 2018

Standing out from the crowd on Tinder can be tough, but with the help of Microsoft PowerPoint a British student has managed just that – and gone viral in the process.Sam Dixey, a 21-year-old studying at Leeds University, made a six-part slideshow entitled “Why you should swipe right” – using pictures and bullet points to shrewdly persuade potential dates to match with him on the dating app. The slideshow includes discussion of his social life and likes, such as “petting doggos” and “laser tag”, and “other notable qualities and skills” – such as being “not the worst at sex” and “generous when drunk”.It even has reviews mocked up from sources such as “Donald Trump”, “Leonardo Di Capri Sun” and “The Times Guide to Pancakes 2011”.Sam told the Press Association the six-slide presentation only took about 20 minutes to make and “started off as a joke”.However, since being posted to Twitter by fellow Tinder user Gracie Barrow, Sam’s slideshow has been shared tens of thousands of times across social media.So, it’s got the seal of approval form Gracie, but how has the slideshow fared on Tinder? “I’d have to say it has been pretty successful,” Sam said. “Definitely a clear correlation of matches and dates beforehand to afterwards.“Most of the responses tend to revolve around people saying ‘I couldn’t help swipe right 10/10’ but I’ve had some people go the extra mile and message me on Facebook.“Plus some people have recognised me outside, in the library and on dates.”A resounding success.


St Andrews University comes out tops in survey

May 12 2014

St Andrews University has been named as the best in Scotland in a new survey. The list, compiled by website The Complete University Guide, places St Andrews behind only Cambridge, Oxford and the London School of Economics in the UK and is the only Scottish entry in the top 20. There was good news for another university in Courier Country as Abertay rose significantly up 20 places to 91. Stirling also saw its fortunes improve and has climbed four to 45. However, Dundee saw its position drop slightly down two places to 49. Scottish top 10 (UK ranking in brackets): 1 St Andrews (4) 2 Edinburgh (21) 3 Glasgow (30) 4 Heriot-Watt (33) 5 Strathclyde (41) 6 Aberdeen (44) 7 Stirling (45) 8 Dundee (49) 9 Robert Gordon (54) 10 Glasgow Caledonian (72).

Scottish Schools do battle at Kilgraston event

May 30 2014

The Kilgraston Scottish Schools Equestrian Championships attracted more than 100 junior and senior riders in celebration of its 20th anniversary event. Some 20 schools from Kelso High and Morebattle Primary in the Borders, to Robert Gordon’s in Aberdeen and Wellington School from Ayr converged on Gleneagles Equestrian Centre. Entrants fielded either teams or individuals to contest the three age groups 12 and under, 14 and under and 15 and over with each section split into combined training (CT), dressage and showjumping. Starting with the youngest riders in the 12 and under age group, Glasgow Academy achieved a clean sweep, with their team winning all three phases. The team from Kilgraston finished a close second ahead of Ardvreck, which was relegated into third by just one point. In the team jumping Ardvreck reversed these placings to finish second in the team jumping with Kilgraston in third. In the individual competition Glasgow Academy’s success continued with Max Hedgcoe in Arena A posting wins across all phases. Stephanie Craig from Wellington School made the long journey worthwhile, winning Arena B in both CT and dressage. Kilgraston School’s 14 and under team of Grace Reilly, Heather Halley, Zoe Niven and Daisy Foniciello had a win in both the CT and the dressage. Individually, Zoe Niven and Grace Reilly were third in their arenas for both CT and dressage. Strathallan A were runners-up in the team competition for these sections, with Robert Gordon’s in third for CT. Strathallan B took third in the dressage. The showjumping phase was particularly dramatic, with many riders falling foul of fence three, the planks. Robert Gordon’s rolled only one pole between all their rides to finish with a team score of just four faults, securing the win. Kilgraston’s Zoe Niven posted the fastest time of the day to take the individual showjumping title. In the senior (15 and over) section it was George Heriot’s that came to the fore in CT and showjumping, with Strathallan taking the dressage phase. In the showjumping Sophie Bultitude rode an excellent double clear to secure the Jenny Storer Cup, presented to the individual champion, for Robert Gordon’s College. Amy Clark, also for Robert Gordon’s, took the individual title in Arena A for both CT and dressage, while Felix Feather, of George Heriot’s, posted one of the best dressage scores of the day to keep Strathallan’s Jessica England out of the top spot in Arena B. This result was reversed in the CT with Felix adding eight faults to his dressage score, while Jessica finished her round with just four to add. Instrumental in the organisation of the day, Kim Seaton, Kilgraston’s equestrian manager, said: “Once again I was delighted to welcome so many competitors from around the country. “As always the show continued to be held in a warm and friendly atmosphere and attract a high standard across all sections. “I’d like to thank all of the participating schools for coming and also our sponsors Knight Frank for their continued support.” equestrian@thecourier.co.uk Results Teams 12 and under. Combined training: 1 Glasgow Academy; 2 Kilgraston A; 3 Ardvreck. Dressage: 1 Glasgow Academy; 2 Kilgraston A; 3 Ardvreck. Showjumping: 1 Glasgow Academy; 2 Ardvreck; 3 Kilgraston A. 14 and under. Combined training: 1 Kilgraston; 2 Strathallan A; 3 Robert Gordon’s. Dressage: 1 Kilgraston; 2 Strathallan A; 3 Strathallan B. Showjumping: 1 Robert Gordon’s. 15 and over. Combined training: 1 George Heriot’s; 2 Strathallan; 3 Glenalmond. Dressage: 1 Strathallan; 2 George Heriot’s; 3 Glenalmond. Showjumping: 1 George Heriot’s. Individuals 12 and under. Combined training (Arena A): 1 Max Hedgcoe, Glasgow Academy; 2 James Houlden, Ardvreck; 3 Bernadette McElhinney, Kilgraston A. Combined training (Arena B): 1 Stephanie Craig, Wellington; 2 Anna Smallwood, Kilgraston A; 3 Tara Humphrey, Ardvreck. Dressage (Arena A): 1 Max Hedgcoe, Glasgow Academy; 2 James Houlden, Ardvreck; 3 Bernadette McElhinney, Kilgraston A. Dressage (Arena B): 1 Stephanie Craig, Wellington; 2 Tess Wylie, Kilgraston B; 3 Anna Smallwood, Kilgraston A. Showjumping: 1 Max Hedgcoe, Glasgow Academy; 2 Katie MacFadyen, Morebattle; 3 Myah Neilson, Wellington. 14 and under. Combined training (Arena A): 1 Izzy Bamford, George Heriot’s; 2 Sarah Montgomery, Robert Gordon’s; 3 Grace Reilly, Kilgraston. Combined training (Arena B): 1 Rowan Henderson, Kelso; 2 Ella England, Strathallan; 3 Zoe Niven, Kilgraston. Dressage (Arena A): 1 Sarah Montgomery, Robert Gordons; 2 Izzy Bamford, George Heriot’s; 3 Grace Reilly, Kilgraston. Dressage (Arena B): 1 Rowan Henderson, Kelso; 2 Ella England, Strathallan A; 3 Zoe Niven, Kilgraston. Showjumping: 1 Zoe Niven, Kilgraston; 2 Duncan MacFadyen, Kelso; 3 Izzy Bamford, George Heriot’s. 15 and over. Combined training (Arena A): 1 Amy Clark, Robert Gordons; 2 (equal) Kirsten Bamford, George Heriot’s and Laura Langdale, Glenalmond. Combined training (Arena B): 1 Jessica England, Strathallan; 2 Felix Feather, George Heriot’s; 3 Olivia Morison, Kilgraston. Dressage (Arena A): 1 Amy Clark, Robert Gordons; 2 Laura Langdale, Glenalmond; 3 Rachel Menzies, Kilgraston. Dressage (Arena B): 1 Felix Feather, George Heriots; 2 Jessica England, Strathallan; 3 Olivia Morison, Kilgraston. Showjumping: 1 Sophie Bultitude, Robert Gordon’s; 2 Alex Mundell, Mary Erskine; 3 Kirsten Bamford, George Heriot’s.


St Andrews University rises to all-time high in new league tables

April 26 2017

St Andrews University has risen to an all-time high of third in a prestigious league table published today. The results of TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk’s 2018 rankings means that the Fife institution lies below only Cambridge and Oxford in the list, up from fifth in last year’s table, and cements its position as Scotland’s highest-ranked university. There was also good news for Dundee University, which climbed six places from 35th into 29th, while Abertay University stayed static in 86th. Scotland’s second-highest ranked university, Edinburgh, fell four places to 23rd, exiting the top 20 in the process, while Glasgow dropped from 29th to 36th to be overtaken by both Heriot-Watt in 28th and Dundee. West of Scotland recorded the biggest climb in Scotland, up 10 places to 100th, with Stirling, Aberdeen, Strathclyde, Robert Gordon, Glasgow Caledonian, Queen Margaret and Edinburgh Napier also making the top 100 from north of the border. In separate listings covering 70 subjects, St Andrews also featured in the top 10 for 23 of the 25 subjects it teaches, occupying the top spot in two — namely business and management studies and Middle Eastern and African studies. Dr Bernard Kingston, chairman of TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk, said: “It is 10 years since TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk launched its online university league tables, and they have proved their accuracy, independence and robustness over the decade. “This year there is a considerable degree of stability at the upper end of the league table, as in the past. “This stability, while it may not attract the headlines, demonstrates that the rankings fulfil our principal objective — to provide credible and freely accessible information for individuals seeking a university place. “The Government has said that applicants need access to robust, timely and objective information, based on criteria that is straightforward and easily understood. “We believe that TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk meets these criteria and more and we intend that this will remain the case for the next decade — and beyond. Indeed, we use the same three metrics which the Government plans to include in its much-heralded Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF).” Edinburgh makes the top 10 for 20 of the 50 subjects it offers, topping the nursing categotry, while Strathclyde features in 34 subject tables, making the top 10 in 13 and finishing first in three — namely aural and oral sciences, medical technology, and social policy. In addition, Glasgow features in nine top 10s; Dundee and Aberdeen in six; Robert Gordon and Glasgow Caledonian in five; Heriot-Watt and Stirling in three; Edinburgh Napier in two; and West of Scotland in one.


Universities in gender split pledge

April 9 2015

Scotland's universities have committed to achieving at least 40% female representation within their governing bodies. The chairs of 18 higher education institutions have agreed to work towards the 40:40:20 gender target - 40% men, 40% women and 20% either gender. The commitment will only apply to the independent, external members who form the majority of each governing body's membership. The remainder are elected by university staff, students and alumni, and Universities Scotland said it would work towards implementing the target for all members if staff and students made a similar commitment for their chosen candidates. Women currently make up less than a third (32%) of all independent members across the 18 universities. David Ross, chair of the committee of Scottish chairs and of the University of Glasgow's governing body, said: "Our higher education sector thrives on diversity, whether that is diversity of opinion and perspective or the diversity of the 18 higher education institutions themselves, so we must do everything we reasonably can to ensure that our governing bodies - the place where strategic decisions are made - reflect and encourage diversity amongst their membership. "This commitment can only extend as far as independent members of the governing body because staff and student stakeholders rightly have the freedom to elect their own candidates. "We ask the students and staff in our institutions to consider making a similar commitment." Jennifer Craw, chair of the governing body at Robert Gordon University, said: "As chair of one of Scotland's universities I am proud we are making a commitment to achieve a minimum 40% gender balance in our independently appointed board members. "Robert Gordon University, like many others, is seeking to continue to enhance good governance and attract a diversity of talent, knowledge and skills to our board." Universities Scotland said measures being taken to attract prospective female governors will include more targeted advertising of vacancies and a relaxation of the requirement for previous board experience, but the body insisted that institutions remain committed to appointing the best candidates for the roles. Professor Pete Downes, convener of Universities Scotland and principal at the University of Dundee, said: "The 40:40:20 approach to gender balance gives institutions some flexibility to ensure we continue to appoint the strongest candidates to what are strategically important roles. "This is important for good governance, for the candidates themselves and to ensure that our universities remain competitive." The campaign for 40:40:20 gender representation in the UK is run by the organisation Women on Boards and the rule is well established in several European countries such as Norway. Universities Scotland said the timescale for aiming to achieve the target would vary according to the circumstances of each institution but a progress review would be carried out in 2018.


Former Fife lawyer Keith Ferguson

January 28 2014

Keith Ferguson, who was a prominent figure in Glenrothes as well as a public service lawyer and published author, has died aged 85. The son of an optician, Mr Ferguson was born in Dundee on August 18 1928 and educated at Robert Gordon’s College where he did both his arts and law degrees. Mr Ferguson began his professional career at the Aberdeen firm of Gray and Connachie. In 1953 he took up the role of depute and town clerk at the Burgh of Buckhaven and Methil. Then, in 1962, he took up the post of secretary and legal adviser (latterly director of administration and legal services) at Glenrothes Development Corporation, serving with distinction for the next 20 years until his retiral due to ill-health. Following a triple heart bypass in 1983, he became Secretary to the Commission for Local Authority Accounts. Mr Ferguson was married to his university sweetheart Jean until her death in November 2011 and was a devoted father to Stuart, Carole and Andrew.

Motoring news

Join the queue for littlest Audi Q

November 9 2016

Audi’s relentless release of new models continues with the launch of its smallest SUV. The Q2 goes on sale in the UK next week with prices starting at £22,380. There’s an extensive selection of petrol and diesel power trains as well as the option of front or Quattro four-wheel drive. More models will be added to the range later on, including powerful SQ2 and RSQ2 versions. Aimed squarely at a younger audience, the Q2 has bolder, sharper lines and a different shape to Audi’s bigger SUVs, the Q3, Q5 and Q7. Although it’s clearly meant more for buzzing around cities than growling across farmland, cladding and skid plates lend it an aura of ruggedness. Audi is also offering a range of vibrant colours to deepen the Q2’s appeal to youthful buyers. The interior is as plush as you’d expect from Audi, justifying its price hike over similarly sized SUVs like the Nissan Juke and Honda HR-V. The materials are high quality – softtouch plastics, leather on higher spec cars and brushed aluminium trim elements all blended into a smart-looking package. As standard, drivers get a seven-inch infotainment screen on top of the dashboard. It’s operated through Audi’s rotary dial system that’s far more intuitive and easier to use when on the move than rivals’ touchscreen systems. Among the many options is Audi’s excellent Virtual Cockpit - a 12.3in screen that replaces the manual instruments behind the steering wheel. Overall, the Q2 is 4.7in shorter than the A3 hatchback, but Audi says there’s enough leg and headroom for two adult passengers in the back. Boot space comes in at 405 litres – 50 more than you’ll find in the A3 hatchback and rival Nissan Juke, although it trails the Mini Countryman by the same amount. To begin with, the only diesel option is a 1.6 litre with 114bhp, although a more powerful 184bhp 2.0 litre unit will be added to the range soon. Similarly, the petrol engine range is limited for now but will be expanded by the end of the year. The 1.4 litre, 148bhp unit offered now will be joined by 1.0 litre, 114bhp three cylinder turbo and 2.0 litre, 187bhp options – the latter coming with an S-Tronic automatic gearbox. When it arrives the 1.0 litre petrol version will be the cheapest model in the range with a price tag of £20,230. Courier Motoring has yet to get its hands on the car but early reviews have been very positive and Audi looks to have yet another winner on its hands. jmckeown@thecourier.co.uk

Business news

Prestigious BP oil contract for Dundee project management training company

June 7 2017

Dundee-headquartered training provider 20/20 Business Insight has won a prestigious contract with one of the world’s leading oil and gas companies. The Broughty Ferry-based company, which also has offices in Aberdeen, London and the USA, has been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. Ironically, the prestigious account has been won after 20/20 stepped away from its previous focus almost entirely on the oil and gas sector – adding BP to a diverse client portfolio that now includes Wood Group, Centrica, Balfour Beatty, British Aerospace, Hinckley Point, Network Rail, Diageo and Wm Grant. Chief executive officer Tony Marks, who said the new status came off the back of recent big contract wins within the nuclear power industry, added: “20|20 are delighted to have been awarded preferred supplier status under a master contract by BP for providing project management training globally. “It’s a great team performance in demonstrating our international capability and upstream oil industry experience to win this prestigious account.” 20|20 Business Insight, which employs 26 staff and had revenues of £2.84 million last year, is a full service, project management, business and leadership training and consulting company who deliver training courses and consulting services throughout the world. It is the largest independent provider of project management training courses in the UK. The consulting team work with companies to analyse competence baselines and deliver maturity assessments, design bespoke and accredited training programmes, create handbooks and manuals, implement project management procedures and protocols and then measure and report effectiveness. Mr Marks said that crucially, they had the ability to deliver internationally-accredited training and consulting anywhere in the world, primarily in oil and gas, engineering and construction, utilities, nuclear, food and drink However, despite an international outlook, they remained proud to be rooted in Dundee. “We are big fans of Dundee and supporters of the Tay Cities Deal to bring jobs, including de-commissioning, to Dundee,” he added. “When we started in 2003, we were almost exclusively in the oil and gas sector before diversifying into other sectors. We were lucky because two years ago the oil and gas sector started to decline, and accounts for around 10% of the work we do now.” Mr Marks has been involved in business for 27 years and has seen four or five cycles based on the oil barrel price changing. During that period, the level of business has come back smaller each time. “So it’s quite interesting we are back in the oil and gas sector now,” he added. He said the BP deal had been going on behind the scenes for nine months and “should mean quite a jump in business for us.” He added: “It’s not a guarantee of any level of work. But the revenue should be significant and comes off the back of other big contract wins.”

Man bailed in M20 murder probe

February 23 2018

A man who was arrested on suspicion of murder after the body of a woman was found on the M20 has been released on bail.The body was discovered by police on the London-bound carriageway near Ashford at 6.05pm on Tuesday. The road was closed between junctions 9 and 10 for nearly 24 hours while the scene was investigated.Officers appealed for the driver of a silver Nissan Qashqai to come forward and a man handed himself in at a police station on Wednesday evening, Kent Police said.On Friday morning the force said the man had been released on bail until March 15.The circumstances surrounding the death of the 32-year-old from Kent remain a mystery and detectives are continuing to investigate.A post-mortem is expected to take place at midday on Friday.Police are still appealing for drivers who were on the road at the time to check their vehicles for signs of a collision, and for anyone with dash cam footage or who saw a Nissan Qashqai with the registration KY15 WWX at the time of the incident to come forward.