Data changes everything!


On Tuesday 21 March, 150 people from the private, public and education sectors will take part in our Ayrshire Bytes: Data Changes Everything conference at our Kilmarnock Campus.

We are very proud to have been approved as an official fringe event of DataFest17 – the only one outside the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. DataFest17 is week long festival of data innovation from 20-24 March 2017 which will showcase Scotland’s leading role in data on the international stage.

Leading figures in a range of industry sectors will share their views on how data and digital are changing everything we do. They include:

  • Gillian Docherty, chief executive of The Data Lab (the Innovation Centre which organises DataFest), who will address the theme of the conference by taking us on a journey to 2035 and sharing examples of how data will have changed our lives
  • Brendan Faulds, former chief executive of the Digital Health & Care Institute (the Innovation Centre for health and care) who will tell the story of health and social care services in Scotland, the part data has played in its past and present, and the role it will play in shaping its future
  • Vicky Brock, chief executive of Clear Returns, who will demonstrate how to use data to influence shopper behaviour
  • Richard Millar, senior manufacturing systems engineer at Spirit Aerosystems, who will talk about the factory of the future
  • Craig Hume, managing director of Kilmarnock based Utopia Computers, who will explain why honesty and openness are key to a more secure digital world.

Developing Ayrshire’s Digital Talent

Our ambition for Ayrshire is to enable its people, businesses and communities to have the skills to take advantage of the potential of digital technologies.

Central to that are students on digital and computing courses at the College, thirty of whom will take part in the conference. Their skills will be vital to enabling companies in every sector of the economy to benefit from developments like big data, the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0. The Scottish Government reported this month that an additional 12,800 digital skills roles are needed each year in Scotland. As well as in the digital industry, these jobs will be in sectors of the economy like finance, manufacturing, retail, health and tourism.

These jobs will only be filled if increasing numbers of people choose to develop the skills required and we are working hard to inspire more young people at school to choose courses which develop digital skills. Our hugely successful Coderdojo Ayrshire computing coding clubs for seven to seventeen year-olds have introduced hundreds of primary and secondary age young people to programming and developing apps.

On International Girls in ICT Day on 27 April, in partnership with SmartSTEMs, we are taking our #ThisAyrshireGirlCan campaign to a new level with a Technology Workout for 120 first and second year secondary school girls. As well as hearing from inspirational female speakers, the girls will take part in a wide range of interactive workshops led by industry and take part in our award-winning CoderDojo Ayrshire.

Supported by funding from the Developing the Young Workforce Ayrshire regional group, Ayrshire College has teamed up with Apps for Good, an open source technology education movement, to equip young people to research, design and make digital products and take them to market. Most children are consumers of technology. Apps for Good aims for young people to become makers using technology. Aimed at pupils in third year at secondary school this project will provide a pathway for young people prior to making their subject choices.

For fourth year pupils looking at their options for fifth and sixth year at secondary school the IT: Software Development Foundation Apprenticeship will be delivered in college two afternoons a week from August 2017. Find out more here.

Ayrshire – byte or be bitten

There is no doubt that data and the digital technologies that enable companies to analyse, visualise and act on it are disrupting the way we work, learn and play. 

If you would like to speak to us about your digital skills needs, or you would like to support the work we are doing to encourage young people to pursue digital careers, please contact Moira Birtwistle at moira.birtwistle@ayrshire.ac.uk or Ged Freel at ged.freel@ayrshire.ac.uk 

 

Prince’s Trust Team – Residential

The Prince’s Trust programme at the College provides students with tremendous experiences over the 12 weeks that it runs.

One of the most rewarding aspects of any Prince’s Trust programme is the residential trip that the Teams embark on.

For one week, the Teams mix together and enjoy team building activities.

We asked one of this group’s team members, Fiona Banner of Prince’s Trust Team 157 (Kilwinning), if she would share her experiences of her recent residential trip.

Here is what she said.


As a new team we were all very anxious and excited to go on our residential trip with the Prince’s Trust. We had looked forward to the new experiences that would face us there. Living with all these new people for four days and being around them every hour of the day felt like it was going to be a struggle for everyone.

Luckily, the Kilwinning Team are a great team who stick together and look out for each other. They are very reliable and offer support when it’s needed, which we found out during our trip.

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The first day was exciting and everyone was thrilled to be there. We did various team building exercises, which helped us realise we could trust our team which was necessary for the rest of the activities. We teamed up for orienteering that day and at night time we challenged our teammates on inflatables and raced against each other. These kind of activities helped everyone get an insight to their teammates’ strengths and weaknesses.

We found ourselves making new friends with the Kilmarnock and Ayr teams and made new bonds after a whole day of activities. We felt more comfortable with the other teams compared to how we felt before we went on residential.

On the second day, everyone was eager to get up and go out to Auchengillan Outdoor Centre. We had to climb a tall pole, work as a team to build an unstable crate stack and climb it, then do rock climbing and abseiling. These helped push every individual to the best of their abilities and for some to face their fears. This is a hard thing to do but having the support and motivation of your team and leaders helped a great deal. We all managed to push ourselves further than we ever imagined.

During the night we competed against each other in various games like indoor hockey, quizzes and we did trust building exercises with the teams. This helped create a bigger and better bond with everyone.

By day three we all felt like we had known each other for years even though we had only spent 11 days together.

It was a great atmosphere, everyone was looking out for each other because we were all on the same boat. The third day was the last day for activities – we got to go grass sledging, rifle shooting, raft building and para dropping. Here we all learned new skills and enhanced our team working skills. We put our knowledge of each other’s strengths and weaknesses to use and managed to work out strategies for different people in the team to get things done efficiently.

Finally we had a talent show where several people showed off any secret talents they had. People who just wanted a laugh and to make the most of their experience performed. This gave us a better insight into everyone’s personalities and it was a great confidence booster for everyone being able to perform their talents while having amazing support from the teams – whether the performers were good or bad!

We all wish we could go back and do it all over again. It was amazing for everyone. We all learned very valuable life skills that will help us a great deal in the future, without us even knowing we were learning them at the time.

We all came back better people than when we first entered the team. With all the learning and activities aside we all had a brilliant laugh and hopefully made bonds for life.

The experience has taught me to believe in myself and sometimes in life you just need to know someone has your back and you can achieve better than you ever imagined.

Tackling gender segregation in the Modern Apprenticeship programme

Alyson Laird is a PhD research student at Glasgow Caledonian University. She works within the WiSE Research Centre which seeks to promote and make visible women’s contribution to Scotland’s economy. Her PhD research focuses on gender segregation in the Modern Apprenticeship programme in Scotland.

Alyson visited our Kilwinning Campus recently to have a chat about our approach to tackling gender imbalance in courses and apprenticeships. We invited Alyson to share the aims of her research with us in our blog.


I haven’t always been passionate about gender equality and feminism, but an inspiring lecturer at GCU encouraged me to think differently about the economy and society we live in. Since then, I have had a desire to be part of the change needed to tackle inequalities in our society, specifically gender inequalities.

My research focuses around the Modern Apprenticeship programme, and more specifically the gender segregation which exists within the programme. Gender segregation is where women and men are more likely to be found in jobs stereotypically associated with their gender. For example, less than 2% of those participating in construction and related apprenticeship frameworks are women – that’s only 77 out of over 5,000 participants! My research asks why this is the case and what is being done to change it.

Is it a problem?

This is a question I hear often. Maybe girls just want to work in childcare and hairdressing and boys want to work on building sites and shipyards? These are statements I hear when I discuss my research with people who aren’t aware of the extent of the problem.

Yes, it is a problem.

It’s a problem because the youngest members of our society are taught from a very early age that there are jobs for girls and jobs for boys. Arguably, things are changing – schools, for instance, are making massive changes in this area. You only have to watch kids’ TV for an afternoon or go into a toy shop to notice that gender stereotyping is everywhere. Girls play with dolls and dress up as princesses. Boys play with Lego and pretend to be superheroes. The world around children at the earliest ages can have an impact on the careers they decide to embark on later on.

It’s a problem because we have a gender pay gap, a situation where women in society are being paid less than men in society and much of this is to do with women and men being in jobs stereotypically associated with their gender. The jobs which women are most visible in are those which typically offer lower pay and are often under-valued in our society. Think of the important work that social care workers do? Why are they not being paid a better wage for the job they do, a job that requires a unique set of skills and recognised qualifications?

I don’t think it is just a case of girls wanting to do stereotypical women’s jobs and boys wanting to do stereotypical men’s jobs. I think there are structural and cultural constraints which influence the choices young people make, and hinder accessibility to certain sectors. And I think the Modern Apprenticeship programme has a massive role to play in helping to eliminate existing stereotypes.

What will I do?

There are over 25,000 young people starting apprenticeships every year in Scotland. The most popular apprenticeships are those within Construction & Related frameworks and those within Health & Social Care frameworks. These occupational groups are also the most gender segregated.

My research is looking at both – challenging what is being done to get more women into construction and addressing the low esteem within health & social care frameworks. I am doing this by firstly talking to as many stakeholders as possible. So, I am speaking to places like Ayrshire College who have been proactive in engaging with both sides of the issue through events like ThisAyrshireGirlCan and ThisManCares. The contribution from stakeholders is valuable, it allows me to explore what is going on in the Modern Apprenticeship programme and enhances my understanding of who does what in terms of funding and recruitment for example.

Secondly, I will chat with Modern Apprentices themselves – firstly through a survey and then through interviews. It is important that the voice of apprentices themselves comes through strongly within this research. The story the apprentices tell about their journey to do a Modern Apprenticeship, who influenced them, what challenges they faced, why they chose that particular route, is one of the most important parts of my research. It tells the real story of what’s going on and how things could be improved from people who have lived the experience.

Finally, I will engage with employers, asking them what they are doing to support apprentices and how they can play a role in improving gender equality within the programme.

Why am I doing this?

Because I want to see change.

The changes happening are too slow, the figures over the last ten years have hardly changed. I wonder why with all the efforts to make young people aware of what’s out there and with all the events which take place to encourage non-traditional careers, what has been missed? Hopefully my research will start to try and answer this question and I can help contribute to positive change for women in our society.

If you would like more information about my research please contact me at:

Alyson.Laird@gcu.ac.uk or follow my Twitter feed @AlysonLaird

 

 

A day in the life of an apprentice … Part six

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

Today is the final day in the series and Catriona tells us about the CDN Marketing Awards.

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Last night the marketing team attended the College Development Network Marketing Awards in Edinburgh. The ceremony was held in the Ghillie-Dhu and we won three silver and one bronze awards! One of the awards was for digital marketing – it’s great for me to be doing my apprenticeship in an award-winning team.

Ayrshire College

After the excitement of the CDN awards last night, it is time to get back to work. I decide to start my day with writing and scheduling social media posts on Facebook and Twitter to promote the #Respect campaign that the College is running. The Respect campaign encourages everyone to ‘Respect Yourself’, ‘Respect the Community’, ‘Respect the Environment’ and ‘Respect People’. The posts I scheduled link to the interviewing the College’s Front of House team blogs, they are a great insight into another team in the College. Read the series here:

https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/category/respect-campaign/

Next, I start working on scheduling posts for an exciting conference that the College are holding later this month called Ayrshire Bytes, which is part of DataFest17, a week of activities focused on data innovation. The Ayrshire Bytes conference will present a range of perspectives on data innovation and best practice, and showcase Scotland’s leading role in this area. There are going to be some great guest speakers attending, including Gillian Docherty, Chief Executive of The Data Lab, Brendan Faulds, Associate Director at NHS National Services Scotland, Vicky Brock, Chief Executive of Clear Returns, Daniel Macintyre, Senior Manager of Glasgow Tourism Strategy and Craig Hume, Managing Director of Utopia Computers and Richard Millar, Senior Manufacturing Systems Engineer at Spirit AeroSystems.

At the end of the day, I catch up with my boss Shelagh, and she gives me feedback on the work I’ve been doing that week. We then agree on my goals for the following week and this gives me clear instructions on what I need to work towards.

So, that’s my blog finished for Scottish Apprenticeship Week, I hope you’ve enjoyed having an insight into what it’s like working as a Modern Apprentice for Ayrshire College. My role is so varied and I’m always kept busy from day-to-day and I am always learning new skills. I am so lucky to have been given this opportunity at Ayrshire College, and I love working as a Modern Apprentice. It was definitely the right route for me to take, if you’re thinking of applying for an apprenticeship I would say go for it! It’s the best decision I have made.

8 things the Semta UK Training Partner of the Year Award means for Ayrshire

Coinciding with Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Ayrshire College has received the amazing accolade of being named the 2017 UK Training Partner of the Year at the Semta Skills Awards in London.

Semta is a UK-wide organisation and is the sector skills body for engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship frameworks in Scotland.

Over 500 people representing the best of British engineering attended the awards ceremony. This achievement reflects the work we do with the engineering industry in Ayrshire, particularly the cluster of aerospace companies around Prestwick Airport, and our internal and external partnerships that facilitate this.

What does this award say about Ayrshire College? Here are eight things we believe it tells us.

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It shows Ayrshire means business. It can be relatively quick and easy to acquire land and build premises, but to build a skills base is a much longer term investment. The recognition from Semta, rating us as being the top training partner in the UK is a sign that we have made this investment and Ayrshire is the prime location for aerospace and manufacturing companies to operate and grow.

Companies already operating in Ayrshire can be confident that the education and training sector matches their ambitions. Meanwhile, businesses thinking of relocating have assurances that a skilled workforce already exists locally, with future generations already in the pipeline.

We are also responding to the need for businesses to be lean and globally competitive by expanding our suite of training in Business Improvement Techniques. Ayrshire can rightly boast both a highly skilled and increasingly productive workforce.

The Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme is at the heart of our offer to businesses in this sector. MAs allow companies to strategically invest in skills and combat the trend of an ageing manufacturing workforce that is seen across Scotland. The high quality of education and training we provide ensures that cohorts of MAs make a positive difference to the productivity and culture within the business. Indeed, most aerospace companies we work with recognise these advantages and have expanded their apprentice intakes over the last few years.

Opportunities are improved through partnerships with our local businesses and stakeholders. We are constantly engaging with businesses, directly and via partnerships such as Prestwick Aerospace and the Ayrshire Engineering Alliance, to establish their needs now and in the future. Through this continued engagement, we are able to invest our resources correctly, ensuring that we provide the right skills, in the right place at the right time. This engagement ensures that we can add elements to our programmes, such as Part 66 Aircraft Maintenance Licensing tuition and CAA exams, that are of real and immediate benefit to local businesses.

Local people are getting local jobs and, not just that, high value jobs too. Around 90% of our apprentice intake in 2016-17 was from local education, with 60% from an Ayrshire College course. These courses are specifically designed to align to job opportunities. Scottish Government’s Developing the Young Workforce strategy calls for more job recruitment directly from education and that is what we are achieving. As well as apprenticeship programmes, we are helping a wide variety of people find employment. Our employability courses are helping retrain unemployed engineers into jobs as sheet-metal workers for the aircraft maintenance industry and graduates from our full-time courses are also being recruited as trainee mechanics.

We are helping create the workforce of the future by giving school pupils access to inspirational programmes. Mission Discovery gave 200 young people from across Ayrshire the opportunity to be trained and truly inspired by NASA scientists, engineers and astronauts. Sponsored by the Ayrshire College Foundation, the 5-day event will ultimately see a pupil project being carried out on the International Space Station. Young people can now see the exciting jobs that are on their doorsteps. We have started offering the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering this year, supporting senior stage school pupils to expand their vocational skills and giving them access to our local industry.

A global business sector needs a world class training environment and that is what we provide. Our Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre opened in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength. Further investment in an upgraded composites materials laboratory has ensured we are providing world class training in advanced manufacturing and repair, to the latest standards. Recent courses in this technology have seen delegates from around Europe attend and raise their skills level. Our new £53 million campus in Kilmarnock is an exceptional learning environment equipped with the latest technology to extensively support engineering and manufacturing companies.

Our work doesn’t stop when people find employment. Far from it. We continue to work with our local companies to ensure their current workforce has the correct skills they need to prosper, whether it be in composite technology, business improvement or management skills to name but a few. Firstly, this helps increase the opportunities for Ayrshire’s workforce to reach their personal career aims. Secondly, it helps business sustainability and, hopefully, aids growth. Thirdly, the combination of these two elements will create the entry level opportunities for the next generation of apprentices and graduates, creating a truly virtuous cycle.

A diverse workforce is key to future success and is something we are committed to for the benefit of our communities and businesses. Current recruitment patterns to aerospace apprenticeships and full-time college courses still show a major gender imbalance with more than 90% being male. This creates a talent pool that is vastly reduced in size which sees females have a lack of opportunity to access high value jobs. Ultimately, a reduced talent pool can have a knock-on effect for business productivity also. We work hard alongside our business partners to challenge gender stereotyping and other equality issues and our This Ayrshire Girl Can campaign won the Herald Diversity award for Best Marketing and Social Issues Campaign.

 

Apprentices are a great way to build your team

For Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we interviewed Robert Paterson, Training Officer from UTC Aerospace Systems. UTC has taken on 65 apprentices at their Prestwick operation over the last twenty years. Robert gives us an insight into the recruitment process at UTC.

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MA Week Twitter posts

How many apprentices do you currently employ?

We currently have 15 apprentices at various stages of the process and we’re looking to start another four this year.

What’s your intake each year and does this vary year to year?

This varies, it can be anywhere between two and six depending upon the forecast of the business need at that particular time.  We have long-term visibility of a shortage in a particular department and we’ve used the apprentice intake to fill that gap on previous occasions.

How do you recruit? 

We handle the entire recruitment ourselves.  We select candidates for testing based upon their application forms.  The testing is a two part process; one part is psychometric testing and they complete three tests, the other part is a hands-on task during which they have to follow instructions and use a variety of hand tools in order to assemble a test piece.

Where do you advertise and is there a specific time of the year you do this?

It’s advertised internally on the notice boards for word-of-mouth publicity and we also place an advert in the local press along with our website and the local Chamber of Commerce and in local schools and college.

What entry qualifications are you looking for?

We have two different apprenticeships to offer this year;

Mechanic/Inspector – we’re looking for qualifications in National 5 at A or B in English, Physics and Maths.  A practical craft subject is desirable, but not essential.  The candidate should have a demonstrable interest in engineering and/or mechanical activities.

Business Apprentice – we’re looking for Highers in Maths, English and a business-related subject.

Tell us about the learning experience your apprentice will have with you

Mechanic/Inspector – The apprentice will spend most of the first year off-site gaining basic qualifications (an NC and an SVQ2).  The rest of the apprenticeship will be spent gaining further qualifications (an HNC and an SVQ3) and learning their trade.  They’ll do this by working closely with experienced mechanics/inspectors and attending college on a day-release basis, learning to use technical data to help in the diagnosis and repair of problems and gaining hands-on experience of overhauling and repairing the aero engine nacelle components we work on.  The apprentice will rotate through various work areas to gain more experience and a wider understanding of the business in general.

Business Apprentice – This is a three-year programme with the apprentice typically spending six months in each team they visit, for example, HR, Commercial and Finance.  During this time, they will be given a project which relates to that particular area and also the qualifications they are studying towards.  These qualifications will be an HNC at college on a day-release basis and an SVQ3.  The apprentice will spend the first two years rotating through four areas then specialising in one particular area for their final year.  They will experience a wide variety of tasks in their rotations and will learn about the business.

What skills and qualities does an apprentice bring to your team?

Enthusiasm along with an eagerness to learn and develop.

Why do you believe apprenticeships are a great way to build your team?

An apprenticeship allows you to grow with your company, earning and learning along the way.  They experience many different areas of the business and tasks.  This gives them much more comprehension about business in general and their employer in particular.  All of this leads to a competent, well-rounded, employee that has the potential to slot into numerous areas if required.

Can you share a success story about one of your apprentices?

An apprentice that started in 1998, Derek Mackin, is now a Business Unit Leader of a well-performing product team.  Derek became a fully-qualified Mechanic/Inspector upon completion of his apprenticeship and moved into a supervisory position a few years later.  He then took on a customer-facing role to increase his commercial knowledge and vision.  He was promoted to Business Unit Leader a few years after that.  Derek started with us as a school-leaver and he now heads one of the busiest teams in the company.

Meet the Apprentice – Eva Mackie, EGGER (UK) Limited, Barony Plant

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we are introducing a number of students who are at various stages of their apprenticeships.

Last up this week, we have Eva Mackie from EGGER (UK) Limited.


2.JPGEva was a dental nurse for four years before becoming an Environmental Laboratory Technician Apprentice with EGGER (UK) Limited at the Barony plant in Auchinleck, Ayrshire.

She began her apprenticeship in August 2016 and is delighted to have made the decision to change career paths when she did.

Eva, 22, said: “I just fancied a total change. I was bored, I didn’t like my job anymore and when I saw this opportunity I thought ‘I like the sound of that’.

“After my first day here, I remember going home and thinking to myself ‘oh no, what have I done’. From the second day onwards, however, that completely changed.  I’ve learned so much and would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone.”

EGGER (UK) Limited’s, Barony plant is a modern, hi-tech chipboard plant which employs over 115 people.

The company has a well-developed apprenticeship scheme, and recruits mechanical and electrical apprentices annually.  However, this is the first time they have employed a laboratory apprentice.

Eva said; “Everyone on the site knows that I’m the first apprentice in the lab, so they always go out of their way to help me. I can ask anybody anything.

“My job involves testing the different surfaces, which I test for moistures, densities and sieves. We get samples every day from the water outlet at the front of the factory, which we are testing for ammonium, formaldehyde, COD and phosphate. We run these tests to ensure we are within the regulations with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

“I see this as a long term career with a stable and sustainable company. There are plenty of opportunities to develop, gain extra training and progress my career.”

Eva is supervised by Wendy Cumming, Quality and Environmental Controller, who Eva calls “a massive help”.

Wendy said; “Eva is a breath of fresh air who is keen and quick at learning, which is important in this job as no two days are ever the same. It’s good to see another female in the production area too.

“Apprenticeships are very important. This is the first year we have had a lab apprentice and it is great to see the Barony apprenticeship scheme developing. In order to support succession planning we need the apprentices of today to undertake our specialist roles of tomorrow, to be more diverse and ultimately they are the future of EGGER.”

A growing demand for digital skills

Stuart Cree, Education Contracts Manager attended the SCDI Skills Summit 2017 at Microsoft in Edinburgh as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week.  One of the key messages was about how improved digital skills would boost the Scottish economy and allow us to be more competitive. As Stuart reflects on the summit, he considers what this means for our Modern Apprenticeship programmes and how the College is responding to the growing demand for digital skills by organising a digital conference.

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The SCDI Skills Summit 2017 was a very inspiring event and I was particularly interested to hear from Dr Jim Hamill, Director of Future Digital Leaders. He highlighted the growing demand for digital skills and how automation and new technology will transform the workplace of the future. Many jobs we do today will have a digital element going forward. Skill sets at all levels will be impacted. Therefore, we need to prepare young people for the changing labour market through acquiring new and contemporary skills.

Dr Hamill predicted that nearly all job roles in 2020 will require digital skills to some extent, even very manual occupations such as construction will incorporate increasing elements of ICT. Digital skills will increasingly be seen as a fundamental and integral component of the Modern Apprenticeship frameworks offered by the College. The content of the College’s MA programmes will be required to adapt to stay relevant to the needs of the labour market and to the changes occurring in the workplace. The College’s overall portfolio of Modern Apprenticeship frameworks may not change dramatically in the short to medium term, but the content of the programmes will undoubtedly be transformed by the introduction of new technologies.

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Another key speaker was Maggie Morrison from CGI, a global business who provide end-to-end IT and business process services. She said, “Improved digital skills would boost the Scottish economy and allow us to compete with global leaders such as Singapore.”

Interestingly, these findings will be covered in a conference we are organising on 21 March which is called Ayrshire Bytes: Data Changes Everything. The conference is part of Global DataFest 2017, a week of activities focused on digital innovation organised by The Data Lab, one of eight innovation centres funded by the Scottish Funding Council.

We have been exploring how we might engage with The Data Lab for the benefit of our students. The Ayrshire Bytes conference will present a range of perspectives on digital innovation and best practice, and showcase Scotland’s leading role in this area.

Digital is disrupting how we do business and, to be sustainable and innovative in this information age, businesses need to embrace the changes arising from developments in digital technology. This conference is a timely opportunity to consider how to ensure these changes convert into opportunities.

Bringing together leading experts from the public and private sectors, 150 delegates will be able to explore big data, predictive analytics and cyber security so that they can understand how to derive business intelligence from data.

Ayrshire Bytes will be led by one of Scotland’s leading digital experts – Caroline Stuart, who will ensure that participants derive maximum benefit from a range of speakers such as:

  • Gillian Docherty, Chief Executive of The Data Lab
  • Brendan Faulds, Associate Director at NHS National Services Scotland
  • Vicky Brock, Chief Executive of Clear Returns
  • Daniel Macintyre, Senior Manager, Glasgow Tourism Strategy
  • Craig Hume, Managing Director of Utopia Computers
  • Richard Millar, Senior Engineer of Spirit AeroSystems

Tickets are free and available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/datafest-2017-ayrshire-bytes-data-changes-everything-tickets-31511835749

Are you concerned about digital disruption? Will your skills need to change? Have you thought about the impact of digital on your business? Come along to our conference and find out why digital is such a big deal!

A day in the life of an apprentice … Part five

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

It’s now day five of the series, and Catriona is heading to the College Development Network Marketing awards tonight.


This morning I met with Gordon Hunt, who is the Vice Chair of the Ayrshire College Foundation which funds my apprenticeship. The Ayrshire College Foundation (ACF) exists to support Ayrshire-based projects that provide educational opportunities for all age groups.

Jennifer, who is the College’s Digital Marketing Officer, and myself have been working on a new website for the ACF, you can access at http://ayrshirecollegefoundation.weebly.com/

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The purpose of today’s meeting is to interview Gordon for my blog series “Meet the Trustee”. The last trustee I interviewed was Margaret Harper who is the Depute Head of Grange Academy. She told me a bit about her background and why she got involved with the Ayrshire College Foundation and you can read that blog at: https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/guest-post-margaret-harper-ayrshire-college-foundation-trustee/

I arrive back at the office in the afternoon and begin working on some of my apprenticeship learning outcomes. This week I’ve been working on a unit called “The Principles of Marketing and Evaluation.” I’ve been gathering evidence to present to my line manager Shelagh, and hopefully this that will be me finished this unit.

Tonight the marketing team is travelling to Edinburgh for the College Development Network Marketing Awards where Ayrshire College is a finalist in the PR & Communications and Digital Marketing categories, as well as being shortlisted twice in the Events category.

In preparation for our night at the awards ceremony, the marketing team has booked in to the College’s training salon for blow-dries and hair-ups. It is great having these amazing facilities on campus and both the training salon and the You. Salon are open to students, staff and the public. You can more information on Facebook @yousalon.

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Remember to check back tomorrow to see how we get on at the CDN awards!

 

Meet the Apprentice – Martin Frew, Wallace McDowall Ltd

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we are introducing a number of students who are at various stages of their apprenticeships.

On Monday we heard from Craig Stobbs of Ayrshire Precision, on Tuesday we introduced you to GE Caledonian Ltd’s Tracey Govan and on Wednesday we met Louis Kerr from Watermiser.

Earlier today we heard from Colin McEwan of Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems, next up is Martin Frew from Wallace McDowall Ltd.


Wallace McDowall Ltd, based in Monkton, was established over 47 years ago as a sheet metal fabricator. Over the years, they have grown into one of the UK’s leading sub-contract engineering companies.

Martin, 19 from Kilwinning, is a Welder and Fabricator Apprentice at Wallace McDowall Ltd.

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Martin said “I was at college last year doing the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course, which was a good head start in this industry.  The course covered a few aspects of the engineering industry, and I got to know what I enjoyed doing the most, which turned out to be welding.

After I had finished the course, I started applying for jobs that were advertised at the College which ended up with me becoming a Welder and Fabricator apprentice.

First thing in the morning, the supervisor gives me a job spec and I just get on with it.  I enjoy being an apprentice. I like being left to myself to get on with the job.  I’m in college one day a week, and the rest of the time I’m working.  I mostly work on my own, but if I need help I can go to supervisors or they’ll talk me through the job.

Getting hands-on experience is definitely the main benefit of being an apprentice.  There’s so many people I work with that can pass on their knowledge or give advice when I need it, so it’s good to have all of that to hand.  For me, it’s an easier way to learn.

Just being able to get my trade papers is great.  I’ve not decided where I want to be when I finish here, but it’ll definitely be a career in welding.”

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