New Campus Countdown: Focus on Social Science

As we continue our countdown to the new Kilmarnock Campus, we turn the curriculum spotlight on Social Science.

Ayrshire College offers the opportunity to study an exciting and diverse range of disciplines from this wide field including psychology, sociology, history, politics, philosophy and criminology.

We caught up with Colin Ross, Curriculum Manager for Education, Sports and Social Science to find out more about Social Science courses and what students can expect when they study with us in our new campus.

Tell us about the Social Science department at Ayrshire College

Social Science, by its very nature, encourages students to develop their understanding of the world in which we live and look at possible solutions to global issues.

We offer a range of courses at the College from NC to HND in areas including primary teaching, social and environmental studies as well as the traditional social sciences.

The Social Science team is dedicated to providing a well-rounded curriculum to our students. This education forms a solid basis on which learners can progress towards their career aspirations via numerous routes, including onward study to degree level and beyond.

We help students develop not only academic skills such as research and writing, but life and work skills that will be invaluable in their future careers.


What initiatives are your team involved with?

The Social Science team have worked to develop strong links with local stakeholders to provide students with the opportunity to help contribute and engage beyond the classroom. This year students will be involved in some of the following;

  • Access to Primary Education students are supporting Heritage Scotland history walks around Kilmarnock with local primary school children and assisting with the Kilmarnock WWI research project as well.
  • HND and HNC Social Science students are delivering a range of social science talks at the Dementia Scotland Resource Centre.
  • Each year the Social & Environmental Studies students provide invaluable support to the Dean Castle Country Park rangers in a range of projects including ecological research and regeneration of the park, many of which have been shortlisted for national awards.


What do you think makes the department successful?

Having staff that are supportive, approachable and deliver engaging courses allows students to realise their full potential. The diverse subject knowledge of the staff maximises the choice for students when deciding on what subject matter they wish to cover.

How important is working with local employers/partners to the department?

The work that the students do with local stakeholders provides support to the community. Working outside of the classroom environment provides another dimension to their learning experience and helps them appreciate the real world applications of social sciences.

What facilities and equipment will the students benefit from at the new Kilmarnock Campus

Students will have access to purpose built classrooms, as well as breakout and touchdown areas where they can work on collaborative projects in a relaxed environment. The range of learning areas and resources will provide opportunities for innovative and diverse learning and teaching. The new leisure and catering facilities will also offer students the opportunity to balance their studies with socialising.

What type of careers can Social Science and Environmental Science courses lead to?

The beauty of the courses within social sciences is that they offer students the opportunity to progress into almost any area they wish. Students have progressed into diverse employment areas ranging from teaching, civil service, journalism, law, health and social care, research, environmental agencies, countryside rangers, media, human resources and many more.

For all the latest information on our new campus development in Kilmarnock click here.

A list of all Social Science related courses can be found by clicking here.

National Coding Week

This week is National Coding Week – an initiative that aims to encourage adults to learn computer coding and other digital skills.

The digital industry is fast becoming the most employable sector in Britain yet it faces a skills gap when it comes to the appropriate expertise.

Children can inspire adults


Children are part of a confident “Digital Generation” having grown up with the internet, smart phones and coding classes.

However, many adults feel they have missed out on the digital revolution and are keen to know more. These include parents, teachers, business leaders, the unemployed, people changing careers and those already employed but wishing to upskill.

Take the first step into a digital career and sign up for an evening class in computing to learn anything from Cyber Security to Getting Started in Social Media.

Computing students have been using Code Academy this week as part of National Coding Week. This is an online interactive platform that offers coding classes in 12 different programming languages.   Find out more information on computing courses at the College.

Children aged 7 to 17 years can teach their grown up to code at the next CoderDojo Ayrshire at the STEM Centre, Dumfries House on 29 September 2016 from 6pm to 7.30pm.  Click here to book.


National Coding Week is the brainchild of Richard Rolfe and Jordan Love of Codex DLD, a tech business that helps adults to make the most of digital opportunities.

Rolfe said, “The UK Government made computer coding compulsory in schools from September 2014 which is great for future generations but does not tackle the skills shortage that exists today. National Coding Week is all about empowering adults to take advantage of digital opportunities. We’d encourage everyone to take part, if I can learn to code aged 51 then anyone can!”

National Coding Week for Adults was launched in September 2014 in a bid to tackle the UK’s growing digital skills shortage.  It has become an annual event where people within the digital industry are being urged to share their expertise with the aim of getting as many adults as possible to learn the basics of coding.

The key aims of National Coding Week are to:

  1. Encourage adults of any age to learn an element of computer coding
  2. Encourage digital experts to share their skills
  3. Collaborate, share, learn and have fun!

This is a great way to get coding whether you are brand new to computing or a digital wizard.

Are you interested in building an app, or making a website, or designing a game, virtual reality, wearable technology, using code to make music or art?   Find out more at


Real men don’t talk, do they?

Last year, for the first time, we dedicated an entire month to raising awareness about mental health and wellbeing.

The month became known as #mymentalhealthmatters month and fell between the key dates of 10 September (World Suicide Prevention Day) and 10 October (World Mental Health Day).

The purpose was to engage staff and students in conversations about their and others’ mental health, and this year we are doing the same.

Steven Fegan, Employability and Engagement Officer at the College, tells his story.

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When I was asked to write a blog for #mymentalhealthmatters month I said “yeah, no problem”.

However, I soon realised that it was much more difficult than I had first anticipated. What did I want to say?

I think it’s important to focus on something that could help people have a better understanding of mental health, and offer a little hope.

First, everyone has a mental health. Like our physical health sometimes we have poor mental health; in fact 1 in 4 people every year will be diagnosed with a mental health condition.

I have been that 1 in 4, and not a million years ago. At one time, I had been an inpatient within the mental health wards of Crosshouse Hospital.

I was admitted there after being treated in the community with the help of a Community Psychiatric Nurse (CPN), a GP and medication for about 4 months.

The problem was – the GP and CPN were doing all the work and I was adamant that I could be better than I was, and therefore I didn’t see the point in even speaking to them. I realise now that if I had, well, it might not have got to the point where I was admitted. The benefits of hindsight.

So how did it get to that point? Well apart from the fact I wouldn’t entertain the very people that were trying to help me, it was probably the lack of my general coping strategies.

Lots of things happen in life and have an impact; some have positive impacts but, life being the way it is, throws unexpected things at us like a death of someone close, a fall out with a family member or a period of sustained and high level stress at work.

Well that was what it was for me. With all of this going on, I realised that I had no coping strategies whatsoever. I turned to self-harm to deal with all of this emotional strain I had found myself in.

Self-harm is the umbrella term for a behaviour that intentionally harms yourself as a response to emotional strain and comes in a variety of methods, cutting, burning, and pulling hair out for example. I chose cutting, hitting walls and starving myself.

This made it difficult to keep things secret from my family and obviously caused them to become upset which broke my heart all the more. All I have ever done was try to make people, especially those closest to me, happy, and here I was making them cry. It then became a vicious circle; I felt bad so I would self-harm, I would self-harm and then feel bad.

Things all came to a head when I made an attempt on my life.

Everyone, maybe even myself, realised then that things were very serious. All I did more though was push people away. I wanted to end my life. My second suicide attempt led to me being admitted to hospital for my own safety.

After a while I thought that maybe the treatment plan would be worth a shot. I started to talk to the doctors and nurses then began to accept the treatments being offered. You will never guess what happened next – I started to feel better. Strange that.

I started to take part in the interest groups on the ward one of which was an arts and crafts workshop led by Gary McIntyre. Gary is a Creative Industries lecturer at the College. It was down to his help, support, empathy and understanding, that I made my transition from being in hospital to being a college student.

I now have a sense of belonging, a job I enjoy and a mass of tools in my coping tool box. I know that speaking to those I hold closest about the small niggles stops them from growing to annoyances. I now know being honest about my feelings and taking that ‘real man’ mask off isn’t a sign of weakness but instead a sign of a strength greater than any.

However, I would never have got well if it hadn’t been for the amazing support and love shown to me by my wife, her family, my sister and the excellent staff in the Community Mental Health team and in the hospital. There are also a number of people over and above that help keep me well. They are special people to me and hopefully they know that.

My story is not unique, I realised whilst being in hospital that many people with many stories from across Ayrshire are affected by poor mental health. What I also realised and what I want to emphasis to you, is: RECOVERY CAN AND OFTEN DOES HAPPEN!

What helps is having people around you that are willing to just be with you in the moment, not judge you and not fix you. Knowing that you can talk about it openly is a great anxiety relieved and that is why #mymentalhealthmatters is a great initiative.

The sky’s the limit

Written by Katie Ralston, Developing the Young Workforce Communications Officer

A new semester has started at Ayrshire College and, with that in mind, promotion of college courses has already started for next year.

I attended my first UCAS Ayrshire Higher Education Exhibition at the University West of Scotland (UWS) Ayr Campus on 30 August 2016. I was really looking forward to chatting to pupils about what they wanted to do and where they wanted to go.- they didn’t let me down!


I was impressed with the ambition and motivation of young people at the event. It was brilliant to hear about the courses they were thinking of applying to, the companies they wanted to work for, and the occupations they aspired to.

I was expecting the pupils to have some ideas of what they wanted to do and an idea of what course they could take, but their knowledge and drive was extraordinary.

The atmosphere in the canteen of UWS where we were exhibiting was bustling with excitement. Each Ayrshire secondary school was given a time slot for their senior pupils to descend upon the eagerly awaiting exhibitors.

Exhibitors, like us, have two key aims for these kind of events – to make sure that every question is answered to the best of our knowledge and to inspire young people to embark on further and higher education course. Although every exhibitor wants to be the first choice for pupils, their main interest was to support young people to make the best choices for their future.

Speaking with pupils gives them insights into which courses they could pursue when they leave school and, in the case of S4 and S5s, the possibility of taking a college course next year while they are still at school.

Pupils were also given information on what college life is like and how it differs from school. They were eager to find out about what kind of jobs they could pursue if they completed different courses, and what progression pathways are on offer.

All of the pupils that attended the UCAS event are at the same point in their lives – deciding what to do when they leave school, what course to choose to achieve their ambitions, and what to do do if they don’t get their first choice.

This type of event is vital for setting pupils up to make the right choices for their future. With 30 exhibitors from 18 universities, 4 colleges, 2 academies and organisations like the Army and Royal Air Force, the opportunities for Ayrshire’s senior pupils are many and varied.

Pupils left the event with their weight in prospectuses and exhausted from the excitement and planning for their future! It was a great day and, working with our Student Services team, I was delighted that they left with a greater understanding about Ayrshire College.

10 reasons why you should study Engineering


1. Solve problems. Engineers encounter a number of complex problems in their daily role, and they are tasked with finding the solutions. Studying engineering will allow you to become the person who designs and builds machines and structures to the best specifications possible.

2. Get your creative juices flowing! Solving these problems relies on a creative mind. Often you will need to think outside the box, so engineering is an excellent career for creative thinkers.

3. Work with talented people. Don’t worry though, you won’t have to fix it all yourself! Engineers often work in teams with like-minded creative thinkers.

4. Make a difference. Solving these solutions often allows cost-effective machines and structures to be created and maintained which benefit communities. You could make a real difference becoming an engineer.

5. It’s a hands-on job. An engineer’s working environment is definitely not like an office job. The job itself involves a lot of practical work as engineers design and build things.

6. You can earn decent money. If you are looking for a career that pays well, then engineering is definitely for you. There are many engineering roles out there that pay handsomely!

7. Opportunities to advance. There are plenty of opportunities available out there to climb the engineering career ladder, too.

8. You can travel the world. High quality engineers are always in demand. An engineer’s skills can be utilised all over the world, so you would have no problems finding a job overseas, if that’s your preference.

9. 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?

10. Enjoy your work. Engineers absolutely the work they do. Don’t believe us? Then hear directly from our students, who have spoken about their time working as apprentices in GSK, Prestwick Aircraft Maintenance, Spirit Aerosystems, and Woodward.

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:

Ayrshire Connects:

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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


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:

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.

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  • 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.”

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