10 reasons why you should study Construction

 1. The job market is strong. This is a fantastic time to join the construction industry as there is currently a shortage of skilled workers. There is expected to be more vacancies over the coming years, too.

2. New houses are in demand. There is also an increased demand for new build homes. The number of new houses built in recent years has risen dramatically and that won’t slow down any time soon.

3. You can earn as you learn. Over 800 apprentices were trained at Ayrshire College in 2014/15, the latest figures available. Why not become one of them and combine your work with studying?

4. You can earn decent money. The salaries on offer in the construction industry are quite lucrative – particularly once you finish an apprentice, and especially if you…

5. Work your way up. The construction industry provides ample opportunity to progress up the career ladder, if you choose to.

6. Be your own boss. Many construction workers have decided instead to set up their own business. If you’re confident enough to take on the challenge and manage your own workload, then the potential rewards are endless.

7. It’s a fulfilling career. Imagine working on the new £53m Ayrshire College campus in Kilmarnock. Or the new Mangum Leisure Centre opening in Irvine. These buildings will be around for decades, perhaps hundreds of years, and you’ll be able to say ‘I helped create that’.

8. It’s a hands-on job. Speak to someone in construction about their job and they’ll often say they just could not work in an office. This industry is perfect with someone who likes to be on the move and get their hands dirty.

9. You won’t get bored. Working in construction involves working indoors, outdoors, with your hands, with tools, on the ground, high up…I think you get the idea: there is so much variety within the construction industry.

10. You’re able to travel. You won’t be confined to just one place in this job. The skills you will pick up allow you to travel absolutely anywhere in the world.

Find out everything you need to know about our Bricklaying courses by watching this short film, featuring our lecturer Billy Hutchison. Ready to apply? Click here to view our Construction courses on offer for 2016/17.

Jen is our champion!

Jen WilsonHNC Mechanical Engineering student Jennifer Wilson was recently appointed as the Interconnect Scotland Student Champion for Ayrshire College.

Interconnect Scotland is a network for women studying science, engineering, technology (STEM) and the built environment across Scotland. It encourages students to set up their own networks at their college or university.

Interconnect Student Champions are ambassadors for STEM within their college or university, and promote Interconnect activities locally.

Ayrshire Connects is Ayrshire College’s network for female STEM students and it was launched by senior NASA manager Sarah Murray on 13 June 2016. Ayrshire Connects will connect female students studying STEM, construction and trades courses across the College with each other, with students in other colleges and universities, and with inspiring women in industry.

In this article, Jen talks about what motivated her to study engineering and her new role as Interconnect Student Champion.

My interest stems from school

My interest in STEM subjects started when I was a pupil at James Hamilton Academy in Kilmarnock. I leaned towards technical subjects like Graphic Communications and Woodwork; as well as creative subjects like Photography and Art and Design. I am naturally quite a curious person and enjoy finding out how things work. Design and technology are such a huge part of everyday life now from the technology we carry, to how we travel and create entertainment. Studying these subjects made school a very enjoyable experience for me.

I had a fantastic teacher at school who encouraged me to do my best and I left school with three Highers and two Advanced Highers. When it came to choosing a career path, I looked at teaching as the route I wanted to pursue. I started with a Classroom Assistant course and progressed onto HNC Childcare. However, I soon figured out that this wasn’t the course for me and decided to change direction.

After that, I didn’t know what to do. I became the carer for my grandmother for two years, followed by a period of working for William Hill. After a bad day at work I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do and decided to find a new career path.

Accessing a STEM career

By this point I felt I had been out of education for quite a long time and wanted to take my time getting back into it. I didn’t have the same confidence in myself about studying and needed time to get back into the student mind set and lifestyle. I thought about my interests in technical subjects and decided to take an Access to STEM course at Ayrshire College.

I knew what to expect at college because I had already been in that environment. However, this time was so much better as I felt I was pursuing the right option for me. I had a fantastic class which made going to college a great experience. My class was evenly split with four boys and four girls who were all as interested in the subjects as me, which meant the atmosphere was great in the classroom.

On the Access to STEM course I studied Science, Maths, Chemistry, Physics and English most of which I hadn’t really studied much of before. I would have really enjoyed some work experience and guest speakers during the course, which is now something I am very passionate about making sure others experience. Indeed it is one of the reasons I decided to apply to be the Interconnect Student Champion.

The new me!

So far from my time at College I have increased my confidence, made new friends, narrowed down what I want to do as a career path and eased myself into the student lifestyle. This year I will be studying HNC Mechanical Engineering at and have deferred entry for next year for the University of Glasgow to study Product Design.

We are the champions

I applied to become an Interconnect Scotland Student Champion after attending the launch night of Ayrshire Connects, the College’s new network for female STEM and construction students. After completing an application form, I was invited to an interview over Skype. I was asked to discuss all the things I would do to get the word out about joining Ayrshire Connects and what kind of events I would like to organise to raise awareness of STEM careers for women.

I am very excited to start my new role as Interconnect Student Champion along with my studies this year. I have a huge amount of passion for STEM and want to make a difference for women in STEM. There is, even in 2016, a very low percentage of women who take STEM subjects at school, college and university or work in STEM industries. It can feel very isolating studying technical subjects at school or college with mostly male students. It’s not necessarily the number of men and women in your class, it’s the knowledge that the industry as a whole is male dominated. I want to be able to bring women together to reduce the feeling of being alone in a course or workplace. I want to get them talking about what we can do to make things better for working in these industries and how we can go about getting more women into STEM.

My first gig

I am looking forward to attending the Scottish Funding Council Gender Action Plan conference in August, where I will have the opportunity to hear from the Scottish Government’s Minister for Employability and Training, James Hepburn MSP. I am sharing the platform with our Vice Principal Jackie Galbraith who is speaking about the College’s approach to taking gender out of the equation. It will also be great to hear from City of Glasgow College about their women-only HNC Mechanical Engineering course they delivered last year to find out how effective this has been.

I’m also really excited about promoting Ayrshire Connects to new students at the Freshers’ Fairs on the College’s three campuses in September.

An exciting future

My future plans are expanding everyday now that I feel I have found what I’m good at and what I want to do with my life. One of the maths lecturers at Ayrshire College, Alan Carpenter, really inspired me to go out and get what I want in my career. He took the time to listen to me and get to know my learning style. It’s amazing how easy and fun maths can be when you get to play games and have the maths related to everyday life. I think in the future I would like to be an Engineering Lecturer and inspire others as much as Alan has done for his students. I want to make a difference!

Want to know more?

Interconnect Scotland: http://www.equatescotland.org.uk/interconnect/interconnect-student-network

Ayrshire Connects: http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/students/ayrshire-connects/

Ayrshire Connects.jpg

10 Reasons to study for a career in care

Because you are a people person! 

You like to talk, listen and most of all help people. A career in health and social care is all about helping and interacting with people to make their day better.

You want to make a difference

Do you want to make a positive difference to other people’s lives? A job in the care sector will give you a great sense of achievement.

You are compassionate

It’s all about helping people and making them feel better. Careers in healthcare are about helping people who are having problems with their physical or mental health. Careers in social care are concerned with helping vulnerable people in the community and providing them with support, so that they can benefit from a much more improved way of life. We will help you understand the different job roles and identify what career path is right for you.

You want to give something back

Perhaps you have experienced care in your life and it has helped shape your future. Often many people in this situation want to work in the care industry so that they can help other people who need care. You would bring a real understanding and empathy to the role and be able to relate well to the service user. We can show you how your personal qualities and skills can transfer into the workplace.

Develop your confidence

In order to thrive in these careers, you need to have the ability to build relationships with patients and service users. It is essential that people trust you, so if you are friendly, approachable, patient, and are good at starting up conversations and establishing rapport then a career in care might be for you. You also need the ability to relate to people from a variety of backgrounds. A sense of humour is essential! Care courses are all about developing your interpersonal skills so that you feel more confident dealing with people in the workplace.

Learn how to be resilient

Health and social care careers are some of the most rewarding you can pursue but can also be the most challenging emotionally. You certainly need to be genuinely compassionate and caring but you need to be thick-skinned and tolerant.

Get relevant work experience

Most of our courses involve a work placement in hospitals, care homes or in the community. This means you have an opportunity to have hands on experience in a job and find out if it is right for you. You will make contacts and if you work hard and make a good impression you will be able to have a reference to support future job applications.

Become a great team player

It’s all about the team! In our collaborative learning environment, you will learn to work as a team, how to get the best out of your team and discover what your role is in a team is.

There are lots of job opportunities

The NHS is the largest employer in Europe (over one million employees); however, many private institutions also employ lots of people in the healthcare arena. A large amount of these people are employed as doctors, dentists, paramedics, nurses and midwives, but plenty more are engaged within managerial, I.T. and administration work. These are the most recognisable jobs but there are lots of jobs you may be unaware of.

Start here Go anywhere

There is a huge shortage of skilled and qualified people in the care industry. In Ayrshire there are currently 340 vacancies in health and social care.

By starting your career at Ayrshire College you can build up qualifications, skills and experience to help prepare you for a wide variety of jobs in the care sector or further study at university.

Useful career links



Case study




Careers in Care

As we continue our countdown to the new Kilmarnock Campus, this month we turn the curriculum spotlight on the Early Years and Health and Social Care department.

This year we will have 478 care students studying on the Kilmarnock Campus.

We caught up with Julie Maxwell, Director of Learning and Skills for Care, Education, Sports and Fitness,  to find out what the students can expect when they move into the campus on 24 October.



We are training people for jobs in the Early Years and Health and Social Care sectors. In this blog I am going to discuss some of the opportunities in these growth sectors for people with the right skills, knowledge and experience.


Early Years: Huge Growth Area

There is currently a demand for highly skilled and qualified workers in Early Years. This is because of the proposed change to increase the amount of free hours of childcare available to all 3-4 year olds and ‘vulnerable’ 2 year olds from 15 to 30 per week by 2020. Employers will need to recruit staff to meet the demand for this increase in childcare. Employers are looking for high quality staff and it’s our job to prepare people for these job opportunities. We have a great reputation for helping employers recruit skilled staff capable of delivering high quality childcare.

The new campus will provide an inspirational learning environment. We have a simulated nursery where students can enhance their practical skills. We have the latest early years resources so that our students are able to learn how to create a safe, positive and fun learning environment for children 0-5 years.

We have developed strong links with partners in Ayrshire who provide work placements for our students in local authority and private nurseries so that our students learn to work with children in a real learning environment.

We have also got great links with UWS for our HND Childhood Practice students to progress into 3rd year of the BA Childhood Studies course. Students will also use this route to prepare for a career in Primary teaching.


Health and Social Care

The Scottish Government 2020 Vision is that by 2020,  everyone is able to live longer healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting and, that we will have a healthcare system where:

  • We have integrated health and social care
  • There is a focus on prevention, anticipation and supported self-management
  • Hospital treatment is required, and cannot be provided in a community setting, day care treatment will be the norm
  • Whatever the setting, care will be provided to the highest standards of quality and safety, with the person at the centre of all decisions
  • There will be a focus on ensuring that people get back into their home or community environment as soon as appropriate, with minimal risk of re-admission

(Source:  http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/Policy/2020-Vision)

What does this mean for our students studying health and social care? It has opened up more job opportunities which are related to improving the health of the nation. In some cases,  there is an increase in the entry qualifications to certain job roles such as residential care workers.

There are lots of occupations which are predicting shortages of health and social care staff including healthcare support assistants, nurses, midwives, ambulance technicians, paramedics and care at home support workers. We are supporting employers by developing a range of courses which will help them fill the skills gaps.

Our courses have guaranteed placements in hospitals and care homes which means our students get relevant experience and can find out what to expect in that job before they apply for a full-time post.

The HNC Care and Administration (Clinical route) offers a wide range of clinical placements in areas such as midwifery, paediatrics, adult and mental health nursing. Successful students can apply for nursing degree programmes at a wide range of universities including UWS and Glasgow Caledonian University.

One area of nursing which is seeing a huge growth is learning disability nursing. This is a specialist nurse who helps to improve the well-being and social inclusion of people with a learning disability. They also offer help and support to their family and carers.

More information here: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/nursing/learning-disability-nurse

In the new campus at Kilmarnock we have created a simulated hospital ward which has 4 beds, a mobile hoist and state of the art mannequins. It is here our students will learn practical clinical skills and moving and handling techniques in preparation for placement on a hospital ward.

We also have a health pod in the Health and Wellbeing Centre. Here our students will be able to monitor blood pressure, weight, height, BMI and from a computer generated report, work out training and nutrition advice. We will be working closely with our sports and fitness students to provide this service to staff, students and the wider public.


Staff are our greatest resource

As well as the new learning environment, our students will experience quality teaching and learning from our team of highly experienced lecturers. Our staff are our greatest resource and we continually invest in training and development so that we have the latest knowledge and good practice to share with our students. We also arrange guest speakers who are specialists in their area.

Career fairs

In the new campus we have a fantastic atrium space where we will be holding a series of careers fairs bringing together all the organisations who have job opportunities for our students.

Read our top ten reasons why you should study for a career in care.





A week in the life of a Police Officer

Brogan Robertson is a 17-year-old student at Ayrshire College on the Prince’s Trust course.  As part of her course, she was required to undertake work experience in an area she is passionate about. 

Brogan is keen to join the police and plans to enrol in the Police Studies course starting in September. 

We caught up with Brogan’s week in the life of a Police Officer as she shadowed the College’s Campus Liaison Officer, PC Kimberley Bradford.

Brogan said “I’ve done so much in a short space of time. From day one, I kept a diary of my experiences which I updated at the end of every day. It was really useful, as I was taught to keep this up to date and take details like a police officer would.

Some of the highlights of the week included:

  • Meeting the Student Association to discuss up and coming events and the different opportunities to engage with the students at Freshers’ Week.
  • Visiting Kilmarnock Police Station where I had a tour of the custody suite, and found out how prisoners are processed. I got a quick look into the cells and saw someone being processed, where finger prints are taken, interview rooms, that kind of thing.
  • Attending the Kilwinning Campus to hear PC Kimberley Bradford give a hate crime / 3rd party reporting presentation to staff. I learned quite a bit from this – for example, I didn’t know that Ayrshire College was a third party reporter to the students, staff, and the public.
  • Going to the Mounted Branch in Stewarton to meet the police horses and see the new recruits start their 16-week training course. I got to see how professional the riding officers and the horses are. It was very impressive.
  • Visiting the Force Training Centre in Jackton where I learned more about the police application process and was taken on a tour of the recruitment department. It was just amazing!
  • Being shown around the Police Scotland Dog branch by the dog handler, Constable Janet Findlay, who was the ‘kennel maid’ that day. The dogs, including a puppy, were very well behaved and focused on what they were doing. I learnt that the police officers train the dogs themselves and the dogs are trained for many situations such as finding fire arms, explosives, drugs and tracing people.
  • Completing a mock fitness test at Kay Park in Kilmarnock where I did a police-style warm-up session before doing the timed run. I ran 1.5 miles in 23 minutes, 49 seconds. At the end of my work experience we did the fitness test again, and I managed to cut my time by 3 minutes and 27 seconds! 
  • Going to Ayr Sheriff Court to sit in on a summary court which covered three cases in half an hour. Afterwards, I got to see a judge and jury style proceeding. We had to leave before the verdict but got to hear the speeches from the Procurator Fiscal and the defence lawyer. It was a good experience to go and see what a court is actually like.

police - Copy

  • Meeting Traffic Police in Irvine Police Station where I learned that there are two driving units – the Divisional Road unit and the Trunk Roads unit. I also got shown a traffic car and the equipment used, which was quite exciting. I was given a breath test which came back zero!

What have been the highlights for you this week?

I can’t really choose a highlight, it’s all been great!  If I had to choose, the first highlight would be being at the dog branch, and seeing the dogs being trained from puppies. My second highlight would be taking 3 minutes off of my run time.

My time with Kimberley has made me more motivated to go ahead with a career in the police. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience and I am proud of myself for pushing my limits. I will definitely stick to getting fitter and improving my running time.

The work experience has definitely been beneficial, as I’ve been given an opportunity that not so many people who want to join the police get. I have learned so much and I’m sad that it’s over!

I have enjoyed every single minute of my work experience and I can’t thank PC Kimberley Bradford enough for letting me shadow her and for making it an amazing experience.

What’s next for you?

When I’ve finished the Prince’s Trust programme, I’m going on to do Police Studies at the College, then maybe Social Sciences.  I’d love to be a police officer when I’ve finished my studies, and would like to specialise in either the traffic police or become a dog handler.


Campus Police Officer Kimberley Bradford said “Brogan has truly been a breath of fresh air. She has been motivated, enthusiastic, well presented and polite. She has shown a keen interest in all of the various departments we have visited and the inputs she has received.

“She has clearly absorbed the vast amounts of information she has been bombarded with over the past two weeks, displaying her new found knowledge and ability to recall information at various points during this experience.

“Brogan has shown dedication, especially towards the fitness aspect that we incorporated into her work experience, making an outstanding improvement in the course of only a week.  I have seen a huge boost in her confidence levels, it’s been a truly inspirational and rewarding experience for us both.

“I am immensely proud of Brogan and with her attitude and determination I’m sure she will make a fantastic addition to Police Scotland in the future.”

Apply now for Police Studies or Uniformed Services

NC Professional Cookery Level 5 – Nicole Allan

We are rounding up our theme of Hospitality and Tourism this week with an interview from Professional Cookery student Nicole Allan.

The hospitality industry in Scotland can be a very exciting career option. It is a fast paced, customer-orientated industry that offers a variety of career pathways and progressions.

Through school-college partnerships S4, S5 and S6 school pupils across Ayrshire can take a hospitality course while at school to enhance their employability and career pathways.

We interviewed some of the Professional Cookery students in December 2015 and caught up this month with Lecturer Graham Headland and Nicole Allan who took the 2015-2016 course.

Graham said “The pupils in this group were so hard-working, focused and would do anything to help. They mixed really well with all the lecturers and staff as well as with each other. We had lots of events this year which they all volunteered to help with, just to gain experience. For example, the students catered for the College’s annual business dinner. I didn’t tell them until about five minutes before it started that they would be preparing the canapés in front of the guests. They did a fantastic job under the pressure and cooked really well.” 1“This group was so focused that they took work home to complete so that they could be finished before the Easter break, giving them more time to study for their school exams.”

“Most of the students on the course got a job in hospitality when they left school including Adam and Ashleigh who we have already featured on our blog.

Nicole went on to get a job at the Dormy Clubhouse Restaurant at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, an amazing position for a student to get straight out of school.”

Interview with Nicole

Why did you choose to do the Hospitality Higher Professional Cookery course?

I decided to do a school/college course because I thought it would teach me what being at college is actually like, so I knew what to expect if I decided to do a full time course there. I’ve always had a passion for cooking and thought it would give me a true understanding of what the hospitality industry is like to work in. I hadn’t had any experience in cooking before the course but I did have a part-time job as a waitress.

What did you like best in the course?

In the course I liked the cooking part the best because we got to try out different dishes. We also prepped and cooked for many functions such as cooking for our teachers and parents.

What was the most challenging aspect?

The most challenging aspect of the course was when we had to cook for customers because it put me under a lot of pressure to make sure everything was ready and served on time.

How does going to school and taking a college course work?

On a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon our timetable would be scheduled for College between 2pm-4pm. It was good because it showed us how different school was to college. At school you were helped a lot more than you were at college, there is also much more you get to do at college. Schools are limited to the things they are able to teach.

Nicole has now left school and secured a fantastic job as a Second Commis Chef at the Gleneagles Hotel. She has been working there for three months now.

How did you hear about the job at Gleneagles?

I heard about the job at Gleneagles from my sisters’ college lecturer who gave me details to email.

What was the application process like?

First of all, I had a chat with the Sous Chef about the hotel and then I put on my chef whites and joined them in the kitchen. I was given tasks to do in the kitchen throughout a four hour interview.

What is it like working in The Dormy Clubhouse at Gleneagles Hotel?

I absolutely love working at Gleneagles. The chefs that I work with in the Dormy Clubhouse make it much more fun as they’re all such nice people. They have all helped me a lot since I started and really helped me settle in. I am staying in staff accommodation, which is handy as it’s only a five minute walk to work and has everything you need like the staff gym and you also get your own bathroom in your room.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge so far has probably been moving away so far from my family at a young age as I now need to do my own laundry and shopping!

How do you feel about this achievement?

I am extremely proud to say that I work in a five-star resort at 17 years old. Everything that we have to do has to be to five-star quality and I am happy that my head chef thinks I am capable of this.

What are your future ambitions?

I plan on staying at Gleneagles for a long time (hopefully) and then after try other well known restaurants all over the world or maybe somewhere closer to home such as Trump Turnberry.

Apply now for courses in Hospitality and Tourism

10 reasons why you should study Hospitality

There is a wide variety of roles and if you have a good work ethic and a desire to provide excellent customer service then working in this industry could be for you. The opportunities are endless!

Here’s why:

1.   You get to be part of a major Scottish industry: the food and drink industry is a major contributor to Scotland’s economy with one in five people in manufacturing working in the sector. Scotland has a rich larder of food, producing quality, premium and healthy produce, and with many international brands, it can be an exciting industry to work in.

2.   You can make people’s day: Hospitality is about people. Whether you’re a concierge in a hotel, a kitchen porter working behind the scenes, a chef, or if you’re involved in the management of a hospitality business, every time you come into work you’re making someone’s day that little bit better.

3.   You’ll gain practical experience: Our Hospitality courses will provide you with practical experience in the College’s kitchens, training restaurant, internet café and licensed bar. Ayrshire College has superb links with industry and almost all students gain work experience while they are studying, giving them the chance to showcase their talents to employers.

4.   Work in a modern workplace: You could end up working as a chef in contemporary venues with modern menus.  Finish the Food Preparation and Cooking course, you’ll be guaranteed an interview with our placement providers, Buzzworks or SimpsInns, and you could be doing just that!

5.   Hospitality is creative: You are creating a product — be that food, drink, or an experience — and there’s always scope to dream up new ways of making it more enjoyable for customers. Successful restaurants and hotels are constantly offering new products, packages and experiences. It takes a lot of hard work to get those initiatives off the ground – and, a lot of creativity.

6.   It opens a door to the world: Every country in the world has a hospitality industry, and the skills you will learn at college are readily transferable, meaning that a career in hospitality can very easily be the key to discovering new countries, new culture and new people.

7.   No two days are the same: Having a job in the hospitality industry means that you get to have a wide range of opportunities.  You can get excellent customer service skills so you can give people a great experience when they stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast, eat in a cafe or restaurant, or visit a bar.

Work in kitchens creating delicious food as a baker, professional cook or chef. Or you could work directly with the public, taking orders and serving food and drinks.

Learn how to manage hotels and restaurants and use your ideas and professionalism to make them successful.

8.  Fast track your career: The hospitality industry provides opportunity for development and there is potential to move up the career ladder very quickly.  If you work hard, and show initiative, very soon, you could find yourself in a senior position managing people and projects.

9.  Meet Hospitality industry professionals: At Ayrshire College, you get the chance to meet professionals who have shaped the hospitality industry, like Bill Costley of Costley & Costley – one of the leading employers within the hospitality industry in Ayrshire.

10.  Work with people from different backgrounds: The hospitality industry employs a diverse set of employees and if you enjoy meeting new people and like-minded individuals who share the same passion and it gives you a great opportunity to make life-long friends.

The career opportunities are endless and include Chefs, Housekeepers, Bar Staff, Restaurant Staff, Receptionists and Managers.

View the videos of Ayrshire College Hospitality students to see where a career in hospitality could take you:

Emma-Rose Milligan – Commis Chef , The Cook School

Evan Samson – Hospitality Manager, Dumfries House

So what are you waiting for?  Apply now for hospitality courses at Ayrshire College.



Are you a graduate looking for a paid internship?

Ayrshire College has two fantastic opportunities for graphic design and marketing graduates who are looking to start their career and gain relevant experience. In this blog Ayrshire College’s Marketing and PR Manager, Shelagh McLachlan talks about the benefits of an internship, what we are looking for from applicants and some tips for applying for the job.

It’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know

One of the main benefits to internships is experiencing working as part of a team and developing professional relationships within the organisation and making external contacts. If you work hard and make a good impression you will leave with a great reference which will be invaluable when you are looking for your next job.

Stand out from the crowd

By taking part in an internship you can show that you are keen to gain employment in the industry and that you have the right skills, attitude and relevant experience to take on a job in your chosen profession.

 In the real world

An internship is an opportunity to apply your academic knowledge to the real world. You will develop employability skills by working on real projects for a real organisation and it will also give you the interpersonal skills that you need to work effectively with others — and confidence in your own abilities.

What’s not to like!

Graphic Designer Internship

We are looking for a graduate with great design skills who can provide examples of previous work. You will be able to think outside of the box and come up with ideas on how our brand could be brought alive in our new campus in Kilmarnock. You will be able communicate ideas visually and create designs that are visually stunning and professional.

This will be a perfect opportunity for a bright, ambitious individual who displays creative flair, an eye for detail and holds a strong passion for design.

You must have outstanding graphic design skills and be confident using Adobe Creative Suite, including Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat.

Along with these creative skills you should be an excellent communicator, with an engaging personality and be well organised.

Event / Marketing Internship

We need someone who is energetic, enthusiastic, confident, quick to learn and not afraid to get stuck in. You should be a team player, detail-oriented, professional yet personable and friendly. A creative thinker with an appreciation for high quality and someone who is passionate about all things events!

You’ll have the organisational skills of a planner and the eye of a designer. You’ll appreciate the importance of taking care of every detail in every task you undertake. You’ll have a cool head under pressure – always coming up with solutions on your feet. You should be able to demonstrate experience of running events either at college/university or personal events you have organised.

Before you apply read this

In the past year, I have been involved in the recruitment of six new people to our marketing team. I have read hundreds of applications and what really struck me the most, is how many people are making the same basic mistakes which are letting them down when we score their application! So here are some hints and tips from a marketing employer’s perspective.

Do save all the details of the job to your computer before you apply – once the closing date goes, you won’t be able to access these online and you will need them to prepare for an interview.

Do read the application pack thoroughly and do what you are asked – don’t send us your CV – we ask everyone to complete an application form and if you don’t do that it shows you can’t follow simple instructions!

Don’t just tell us about your career history! Instead, address the specific job description in a structured way – giving us an example to demonstrate your skills and experience. We will be matching your skills and experience with all the essential criteria on the personnel specification and job description.

Do keep it concise. Keep sentences short. Make your points clearly.

Do check your application for spelling, grammar, spacing and typos – ask someone else to read it.  Most of the jobs in our team require attention to detail, so if we spot careless mistakes it’s not going to make a good first impression!

Don’t have gaps in your career / education – make sure your timeline is seamless.

Don’t forget to tell us the name of your degree/certificate/diploma – it is important we know the highest qualification you have achieved.

Do add in any relevant short courses you may have completed showing your commitment to learning new skills.

Do make yourself stand out from the other graduates. Everyone else who applies will have similar or better qualifications than you, everyone says they are a team player, a hard worker and reliable – so what makes you unique? – Why should we hire you? Why are you ideal for this job? Why do you deserve this opportunity?  Would you hire you based on your application form?

Hopefully you will make our shortlist! Time to prepare! Make a list of all the questions you think you could be asked. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes – if you were hiring an intern what skills and personal qualities would you be looking for? Make sure these are in your answers and you can give examples to demonstrate your skills.

Many of our questions will be competency based questions. In other words you need to give us evidence that you can do this job. For this you need some great examples to illustrate your answer. It might help to remember this acronym – STAR – this will give structure to your answers:

E.G.  Can you give us an example of design work you have done that has been really effective in meeting the client’s brief?

Situation – set the scene. (At college we were given a brief to design a poster)

Task – what was the task or problem you had to solve? (To get people to stop dropping litter)

Action – what did you do to help? (I came up with an effective design and slogan – give details – show your work)

Result – what was the result? (I got an “A” pass, my poster won a competition and the client used my work. The feedback was terrific and the litter problem improved.)

If you are the successful candidate, internships will give you knowledge you won’t learn anywhere else. Together with increased confidence, real work experience and a chance to really prove yourself, this really is an opportunity of a lifetime.

To find out more and apply go to:

Graphic Design Internship

Event / Marketing Internship

Closing date – 12 noon 1 August 2016


Devlin McCloskey, HNC Travel and Tourism

Devlin McCloskey from Kilmarnock, HNC Travel and Tourism tells us all about the merits of studying tourism at Ayrshire College.


What did you do before you came to college?

I always wanted to work in the tourism industry, so I started at Ayrshire College studying NC Travel and Tourism after I left school.  I’ve just completed HNC level and I am moving on to HND in September.

What have been the highlights of your tourism journey so far?

My main interest is the tour guiding.  It’s a lot of fun going to different tourist attractions.  As part of the course, I’ve been to loads of visitor attractions, including Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament, the Scotch Whisky Experience, Loch Lomond as well as places in Ayrshire.

We even got to go behind the scenes at Glasgow Airport, sitting behind the check-in desks, with the chance to go air-side onto the runway.

It’s been a great opportunity to get out and about to different places, and become a tourist myself.  I definitely want to stay in Scotland as it’s a fascinating place, and I’m really keen to share it with visitors and make sure they come back time and time again.

The courses I’ve done so far are really varied.  We get industry experts coming in to the college from time to time, which is good, as it brings the jobs to life for us.  Over the last year we’ve had visits from British Airways cabin crew and the owner of a travel agent explaining how that side of the industry works.  And of course, you make great friends which makes it all the more enjoyable.

I enjoyed the course as a whole but a personal highlight was getting an article published in the student magazine – The Student Voice, ahead of The Open Championship at Troon this summer.  I wanted to promote the golfing experience that can be enjoyed in Ayrshire, and what makes Scotland, and particularly Ayrshire, an attractive location to play golf.  I felt like I was doing my bit for Scottish tourism!

What advice would you give to others interested in a career in tourism?

I would say, if you want to come and study tourism, there are so many opportunities.  Things like volunteering at events like The Open are all great for your CV.

The courses are really good, lots of fun and interesting, and I’ve learnt so much about other countries, and Scotland itself.  It’s a good starting point, getting to know all about your own country.

Apply now for Passport to Tourism (Level 5), NC Tourism for Scotland, NC Activity Tourism, HNC Travel and Tourism or HND Travel and Tourism.

Hospitality & Tourism: Susan Colquhoun, Visitor Services Manager, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Today we have a guest blog by Susan Colquhoun who is the visitor services manager at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Ayrshire.  She gives us an insight into what she does, why she works in tourism and some great advice for our students and anyone considering a career in tourism.

Susan Colquhoun

How did you get into Tourism?

I’ve worked in a number of tourism roles, from being the operations manager for the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, working for the British Motor Museum, South Warwickshire Tourism to working in Canada.

I made the move to Ayrshire in 2015.  I love it, it’s interesting because it’s so varied.  You’re dealing with National Trust members who are very committed to tourism in the area, speaking to people who know nothing about Burns, to welcoming American bus tours.

How long has the museum been here?                                                    

The museum officially opened in January 2011.

What is the main purpose of your job as visitor services manager?

My main focus is on managing the visitor experience in its entirety at the museum.  It changes daily, but I look after the marketing and promotion of the property, down to managing the details of every visit to Alloway itself.  I’m here to coordinate and champion the experience of every visitor and help to make the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum a must-see visitor attraction, acclaimed internationally and enjoyed locally.

Describe your typical tourist visitor to the museum?

That’s just it, there isn’t a typical visitor as such.  We have lots of local people from Ayr, from South Ayrshire and more widely from the Glasgow area too.

In the summer it becomes more international with 15% of visitors coming from overseas. As the museum is owned by the National Trust for Scotland we get a lot of local members who support the centre and use their membership to visit. We have very strong links with the local Rotary Club and we get support from them.

There’s obviously a huge amount of people who come because they have an interest in Burns, that’s really what brings them in – from Burns clubs to Burns specialists or absolute enthusiasts.  We’re also lucky that we are situated in a beautiful area that people like to visit.

What would you say to encourage people to consider a career in tourism? 

I think get as much experience of different types of tourism and attractions.  Ayrshire is a bit of a hidden gem, it’s got a wealth of attractions.  There’s so much happening at the moment, the re-opening of Trump Turnberry, The Open golf tournament, the Racecourse, Culzean and Brodick Castles; there’s all sorts of different attractions on our doorstep.

For me, it’s the interaction that I get at the museum.  Every day I learn something new. I learn from the people I meet and I enjoy sharing what I know with visitors.  And that’s a really lovely thing to do.  Personally, throughout my career in tourism, you can’t beat the feeling of learning all the time, and being part of preserving something that can be shared.

Understanding how visitors tick and what they are looking for is important, and one of the ways to do that is to become a tourist yourself, travel as much as you can, if you become a tourist, you become an expert, which you can then apply to your own career in tourism.

It’s not a 9-5 job and it’s not a Monday to Friday job, but it’s really rewarding.  Get as much experience as possible, know what you’re going into, and work hard!

College is a great place to start a highly successful and rewarding career in Travel and Tourism.

Apply now for courses starting in August.