Blow the whistle on domestic violence

Continuing with our series of blogs for the 16 days of action, David Dougan, a Sports and Fitness Lecturer at our Kilmarnock Campus, shares his thoughts around why it is important that we all act as role models in promoting and embodying the message that any type of abuse is unacceptable.

David was recently nominated for the ‘Campaigner of the Year’ award at The Herald Society Awards.

David and his NC Sports class have been instrumental in organising the College 5-a-side football tournament ‘Blow the whistle on domestic violence’. This was held on Monday 5th of December and also saw some guest players from Police Scotland take part.


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College changed my life when I was 18 and gave me a second chance to succeed in a career I am passionate about.

My lecturers acted as role models for me and really inspired me not only to become a lecturer but to become a better person. I feel so privileged that in my job I have the power to positively influence the lives of so many young adults on a daily basis.

I firmly believe that teaching is also about encouraging and supporting our students to be better people in their communities. For me that means challenging the inequalities we see around us. With my NC Sports class, I lead on and participate in the College’s annual football tournament ‘Blow the whistle on domestic violence’.  This is the second year we have run this 5-side football game at our Kilmarnock Campus, which is open to all students.

Having this tournament and its associated activities shows that football and sport in general can be forces for good. It concerns me to learn that researchers from St. Andrews University found a link in 2013 between domestic abuse and matches between Rangers and Celtic.

There was a significant rise in physical, emotional and sexual abuse in the 24 hours after a game in comparison to any other time of the year. With the re-birth of Old Firm games in 2016, I believe it is imperative that schools and colleges are places which both educate and empower.

It is the duty of us all, lecturers included, to be role models who promote and embody the message that any type of abuse is totally unacceptable.

Having had a family member suffer abuse from her ex-partner, I know there are no excuses for violence. Football. Alcohol. Any other reason given.

Currently in our Sports and Fitness courses we have more females enrolled than ever before.

It is really inspiring to see all these young women flourish in a traditionally male dominated industry. I don’t want them or any other women to be the 1 in 3 who have, or will experience, gender-based violence in their lifetime.

Last year we raised £350 for East Ayrshire’s Women’s Aid. The amount matters little when the impact to a women’s life and potentially her family will be huge. She will know we do not accept, condone or are silent on gender-based violence.

You can contact the College’s Student Services teams or organisations like Women’s Aid if you or anyone you know requires support.

Ann Moulds on Victim Impact Boxes

This year, the College is publishing a series of blog posts to mark the 16 Days of Action – an international call of action to end violence against women and girls.

Today, Ann Moulds, Founder and CEO of Action Against Stalking, talks about her journey.

Having been a victim of stalking herself, Ann campaigned tirelessly for the law in Scotland to change so that stalking became recognised as a criminal offence.

Following this, along with others, she developed the ‘Victim Impact Box’ to aid and support victims of stalking.  Ayrshire College is the only college in Scotland to have this resource and supported its launch on Friday 25 November at College Development Network.

You can contact our Student Services teams or organisations like Women’s Aid if you or someone you know requires support.


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In 2009, I launched the campaign Action Scotland Against Stalking (ASAS) after experiencing stalking and the poor response by the police, criminal justice system, support agencies and others around me. I was determined that stalking should be recognised as a criminal offence within Scottish Law, and to give victims a voice and a place within the criminal justice process.

Campaign ASAS quickly became a national and international campaign contributing to some major breakthroughs and ground breaking initiatives, most notably the introduction of the ‘Offence of Stalking’ sec 39 Criminal Justice & Licensing (Scot) Act 2010.

This set the blue print for England and Wales to follow suit with the introduction of the ‘Offence of Stalking’ as an amendment into the Protection of Freedoms Act (2012).

The campaign expanded to Europe and in 2011, stalking was successfully inserted into the Council of Europe’s European Convention (Istanbul Treaty) the only legally binding treaty of its kind. Ratified on 1 August 2014, it places a requirement on European member states to recognise stalking as a specific crime.

Collectively these pieces of legislation herald the transformation from a tacit acceptance of what on the surface appears to be slightly annoying behaviour, to the recognition that stalking is actually a dangerous deviant social syndrome. The legislation was giving victims a voice and a place within the criminal justice system.

Why I decided to stand up and speak out publicly  

My own experience of being the victim of a long and horrendous stalking campaign highlighted the devastating impact this crime had on every aspect of my life, physically, emotionally, psychological and financially.

Behaviours that we now know as stalking which were persistent and unwanted were often ignored or dismissed by the police, support services and criminal justice authorities rendering victims like myself vulnerable and unprotected.

I was forced to engage in a system that mandated only crimes of a physical nature would be recognised as criminality. I was continually reminded that my stalker would need to attack me first before anything could be done. Despite warning signs of neatly handwritten letters and disturbing photographs – behaviours that signified a dangerous and devious unfolding sexual fantasy of bondage rape and torture that would one day be ‘his reality’.

Stalking is not physical crime, it is a psychological crime denoted by the anxiety and fear it installs into its victims. Ant physical element is purely a facet of the crime.

Due to its ongoing and threatening nature, there is no other crime as destructive as this pervasive and insidious type of criminality rendering its victims as some of the most emotionally traumatized victims of crime.

The Victim Impact Box (VIB)

There is a plethora of information on the internet offering information and advice to victims of stalking on important issues as reporting to the police and keeping safe, but as useful as this information may be, they do not help explain ‘how’ victims should go about these tasks. The Victim Impact Box aims to bridge this gap by focussing on the ‘how’ and not just the ‘why’.

Simply put this simple but highly effective toolkit will serve as an interface between the victim and the system. Its sole aim is to assist the police in the investigation of Stalking cases and other related predatory crimes whilst offering sound knowledge, advice and guidance to victims.

The Victim Impact Box’ (VIB) was developed to aid the investigation and prosecution of stalking cases, provide the necessary information to victims about stalking, what stalking is and how to recognise its attendant behaviours. It provides a step by step approach to reporting to the police, logging incidents, gathering evidence, and keeping safe through the development of a safety action plan. This will provide crucial information to the impact and disruption on the victim’s life. This information will be useful during the precognition stage of the court process and also when the case goes to court.

It has been developed incorporating the principles of a Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) self-help model of care. Its structured and guided approach will help victims develop improved coping strategies, anxiety reduction techniques with the overall aim of helping them manage their situation better.

Working through each stage of the self-help materials will allow victims to process their experience on an ongoing basis, providing for clarity and understanding of their situation. This in turn will not only aid memory recall, but will help install confidence to stand as a witness should their case go to court. It will also help reduce the potential to the development of symptoms of PTSD and long-term impact.

The Victim Impact Box, provides further guidance on the importance of building the right type of support network and has been designed in such a way it forms the template for the drafting of a victim impact statement.

The Victim Impact Box was developed specifically to serve as a multi-functional resource for victims, the police, Crown Office Prosecution Services, victim support service providers, and other organisations where stalking exists.

Domestic abuse – Advice and reporting

This year, Ayrshire College is publishing a series of blog posts to mark the ’16 Days of Action’ – an international call of action to end violence against women and girls.

Next up is Ayrshire College Campus Liaison Officer Kimberley Bradford.


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So let’s talk about domestic abuse…what exactly is it?

As the Campus Liaison Officer I speak to a lot of students within Ayrshire College who are experiencing problems with their partners, and they aren’t even aware that what they are suffering from constitutes abuse.

If you have experienced physical, emotional, sexual or financial abuse, or are being intimidated or threatened by a current (or previous) partner, then you are a victim of domestic abuse.

Domestic abuse happens in all sections of our communities. Abusers and victims can be male or female, any race or religion and from all different types of background.

So let’s break the types of abuse down into more manageable chunks.

Physical abuse includes all types of assault and physical attacks like hitting (including with objects), punching, kicking and burning.

Sexual abuse includes forcing you to engage in sexual acts or to have sexual intercourse.

Mental/emotional abuse includes threats (including threats of violence), criticism, name calling, controlling what you do, where you go and who you speak to, threatening your children, isolating you from friends and family, accusing you of being unfaithful, threatening to ‘out’ your sexual orientation to family, friends or work, or to reveal your HIV/AIDS status.

I want to make it clear to everyone that the victim is NOT to blame for what is happening to them, although a lot of the time they are made to feel like it is their fault. You don’t need to suffer in silence – there is so much help available out there.

I think it’s particularly important to mention that domestic abuse regularly happens to young people, in fact 5% of all domestic abuse incidents involve girls aged between 16 and 18 years old. Those are only the incidents that have been reported, unfortunately many don’t get reported to Police Scotland. As college students many of you will fit into this profile and it’s important to know where you stand.

So what can Police Scotland do? Well one very useful scheme that is up and running is the Disclosure Scheme for Domestic Abuse Scotland. If you think that your partner might have been involved as an abuser, or if you have concerns about another person’s partner, then you can apply to the scheme to ask if there has been a history of abuse or other similar behaviour.

It’s also important to know how to report abuse, and there are many ways you can do this.

You can of course report it directly to me within the College. I work between the Ayr, Kilmarnock and Kilwinning campuses, but Student Services can reach me at any time and they can also schedule appointments with me on your behalf. You can also email me on Kimberley.Bradford@ayrshire.ac.uk and I can arrange to meet with you and provide you with advice.

If the incident is ongoing and needs dealt with immediately then always call 999. This is free from all phones including mobiles.

You can also report it at your local police office or online using the online domestic abuse form.

Ayrshire College is a Third Party Reporting Centre, so that means that certain staff are specially trained to take a report from you if you don’t want to go directly to the police.

All reports of domestic abuse are investigated and the police may also get you in touch with support groups that can help you move on and help you to cope.

You can help by trying to remember as many details as possible about what happened to you, things like: dates, times, where the abuse took place, any witnesses that may have saw it, and keeping any evidence like threatening texts, videos or audio recordings.

When domestic abuse has been reported to Police Scotland, they have set procedures to follow to make absolutely sure that you as the victim (and your family) are safe. They investigate the incident as thoroughly as possible and get any evidence available, and actively pursue the abuser to make sure they will be held accountable for their actions through the criminal justice system (courts) as well as referring you to other organisations who can help and support you.

Police Scotland also have Domestic Abuse Liaison Officers whose job is to link in personally with you following an incident, making sure you are getting the help and support you need, and keeping you updated on the case and advising you of your legal rights and options.

However, after knowing all of that some people still struggle to report the abuse. So let’s look at what can you do to keep yourself as safe as you can if you are a victim?

Well there are a few things you can do (ideally in addition to involving Police Scotland).

• Keep handy a list of phone numbers (police, friends, family, helplines).

Tell a friend or neighbour – if you can talk to them about it they could call the police if they hear angry or violent noises.

Teach your children how to get help, like how to dial 999 and ask for the police, consider a secret word that means you need help.

Get safe in the home, think about safer places or rooms without weapons. If you think abuse may start try to get the abuser into this area.

Have an escape plan. Even if you don’t plan to leave just now, think about how you could do it and practise ways of getting out of the house (taking the dog out/putting the bin out/nipping to the shop). Pack a bag of everyday things that you would need and hide it, or give it to someone you trust to keep.

Remember, if you are being abused YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME. It is not your fault and you don’t have to put up with it. Police Scotland are here to help and if you need any advice at all then you need only to ask and I will be more than happy to help you in any way I can.

Finally, there are many agencies across Scotland set up to offer support to victims and their families experiencing domestic abuse. The following contacts may be useful:

Scottish Women’s Aid

Violence Reduction Unit 

LGBT Scotland

Broken Rainbow (tel 0845 260 4460)

Rape Crisis Scotland (tel 0808 801 0302)

Men’s Advice Line (tel 0808 801 0327)

Scottish Domestic Abuse Helpline (tel 0800 027 1234)

Assist (tel 0141 276 7710)

Samaritans (tel 08457 909090)

MensAid (tel 0871 223 9986)

Supportline (tel 01708 765200)

Victim Support Scotland (tel 0845 6039213)

Abused Men In Scotland (AMIS) (tel 0131 447 7449)

Challenging prejudice, rejecting hate

This year, Ayrshire College is publishing a series of blog posts to mark the ’16 Days of Action’ – an international call of action to end violence against women and girls.

Guest blog from Rebecca Jones of Glasgow Women’s Library for #16daysAyrshire.

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Hi! My name is Rebecca and I work for Glasgow Women’s Library, a vibrant information hub, lending library, archive and museum dedicated to recording and celebrating the lives, hidden histories and achievements of girls and women.

From 25th November – 10th December every year, we mark the 16 Days of Action Against Domestic Violence campaign. This year, I want to tell you a little bit about the work I do, and how you can get involved with Glasgow Women’s Library.

Since March this year, I have been supporting the ‘In Her Shoes’ project, which is giving girls and women from a diverse range of backgrounds spaces and opportunities to talk about their experiences of crime and hostility targeted at their gender identity, sexuality, race, ethnicity, religion and/or disability.

We have hosted a programme of workshops with girls and women experiencing hate crime and prejudice, to help them to begin a journey. This journey starts with sharing and discussing experiences, empowering ourselves and each other, and talking about how we can all challenge prejudice together in a positive and safe way.

We have discussed what can prevent girls and women from reporting hate speech and hate crime to the authorities, and why it is important that we do report it when we witness it or experience it for ourselves. Participants have told us that targeted hostility and hate speech can happen in private, on public transport, in public buildings and on college and university campuses, and they have been sharing their thoughts on how to be effective allies by intervening safely, and not being content to be bystanders when we witness prejudice targeted at others.

We have used methods which have a long history in feminist group-work and consciousness-raising. By speaking about prejudice, discrimination and inequality, girls and women can construct a view of themselves that is true, and not a view that is determined by others in society and simply applied to them.

We have explored some theories from the violence against women movement that reject the term ‘victim’ as devaluing a woman’s ability to survive prejudice, discrimination and abuse, defining her (regardless of her own self-image) as passive and helpless. Many of the women we have worked with choose to use the word ‘survivor’, because it recognises their strength and their agency.

The GWL archive and lending library has a unique collection of books and materials about the 16 Days campaign, campaigns to end violence against women and feminist activism and consciousness raising. We are located in Bridgeton in the east end of Glasgow, so pop by and see us to find out more!

If you would like to know more about the work that we do around challenging targeted prejudice, send me an email at rebecca.jones@womenslibrary.org.uk or visit http://womenslibrary.org.uk/tag/in-her-shoes/

16 Days of Action / 25 November to 10 December

This year, Ayrshire College is publishing a series of blog posts to mark the ’16 Days of Action’ – an international call of action to end violence against women and girls.

Today, Lainey McKinley, Student Vice-President, tells her own personal story.

Lainey was instrumental in organising the Reclaim the Night walk this year which saw students, staff and others come together to walk for the safety of women and girls.

You can contact our Student Services teams or organisations like Women’s Aid if you or someone you know requires support.

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People can be abusive towards ones they love, to people they care about and are meant to protect.

This is a concept I couldn’t grasp, but one I know all too well to be true.

When we talk about violence against women, we may think of the statistic that 1 in 3 women will suffer abuse at some time in their life. We may even know that 1 in 7 students will experience abuse during their time in education. But how often do we hear from the children who are also very real victims of this abuse?

“Stop, you’re hurting me”, “you’re useless” and “not in front of the kids!” are phrases that were said, or rather shouted or cried, all too often as I was growing up.

Doing midnight flits to somewhere ‘safe’ and being promised that we would never return, then only two days later going back as if it never happened.

Was this love, was this a healthy relationship, was this how men were supposed to treat women? Surely it had to be – why else would you put up with it? I remember thinking ‘I never want to grow up’, the thought was too scary.

As I got older, I realised that actually this was not right, this was not what a relationship was meant to be like. A healthy relationship was about both parties being equal and honouring and respecting each other.

I couldn’t understand why she stayed, why she put herself and us through this torment.

For a long time I blamed her. I blamed her for us not being as free as we should have been as kids, for not giving us the love and attention we needed and deserved.

It wasn’t until I got into a relationship myself that my eyes began to open. I began to hang on every word my partner said and found myself starting to believe everything he said regardless of what it was.

I didn’t like the way this was going and I ended the relationship, but it helped me understand why she stayed and kept going back.

She really believed the lies he was telling her! She believed she was worthless, no good to anyone and needed him to survive. She had been so brainwashed and stripped of self-worth that she didn’t know any different. This truth broke my heart and I knew then that I wanted my voice used to make a difference.

I knew from this time I wanted to help raise awareness around violence against women, I wanted women to really hear and believe ‘you are strong’, ‘you are worthy’ and ‘you are beautiful’ in a time when 1 in 3 women will face abuse of some description. We cannot be silenced, we must unite, create a safe place and platform for our voices to be heard.

So to all the women reading this: you are beautiful and worthy, believe and accept nothing less from anyone.

To the men reading this, build the women in your life up, fill their heads and hearts with truths; truths that they are amazing, beautiful, worthy, intelligent, and strong.

The 16 days of action is a fantastic opportunity to raise awareness and for us to stand up and have a voice about a subject that in this day and age is still too silent.
#16daysAyrshire

Meet the Ayr graduation prizewinners

Today is a big day for so many students of Ayrshire College: it’s the Ayr graduation!

In the lead-up to this event we have been unveiling one graduation prizewinner per day on our website.

There are 13 recipients in total – 10 ‘Student of the Year’ winners, and one winner each of the ‘Institute of Hospitality’, ‘Making a Difference in the Community’ and ‘Outstanding Achievement’ awards.

And here they are!

Read what these 13 students think about receiving these awards.


Student of the Year for Aeronautical – sponsored by The Royal Aeronautical Society

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I feel very proud winning this award. It has been a tough time specifically over the last 6 months of the course. The pressure of having a full-time job working shifts and completing the HND got a bit much at times and I felt like giving it up. However I managed to complete it and do well. Receiving this award makes it seem worthwhile.

It will hopefully benefit me should I go for a job in the future. It will show my employer I am a hard worker which has obviously been recognised.

Student of the Year for Arts and Fashion – sponsored by Visualize This

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I am delighted to have won this award, especially at this stage in my life. I did work really hard on the course, mainly because I was enjoying myself so much. It is lovely to have my hard work recognised, but some of the credit should go to the excellent lecturers. Without their support and encouragement I could not have achieved so much.

The course was really life changing for me and has given me the skills and the opportunity of starting out in another direction, doing something that I really enjoy. It has given me confidence and a belief in myself and my abilities. If this continues to lead to financial gain, that would be amazing, but equally I shall enjoy practising and experimenting and exploring the many techniques that I have learned.

Student of the Year for Business, Administration and Accounts – sponsored by The McKissock Family

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The Student of the Year Award was unexpected however without the coaching of my lecturers, and the support and commitment of all my classmates this would have been more difficult to achieve. Therefore, my thanks has to go out to each and every one of them.

There are many skills I have gained from the course. At the age of almost 50, it just goes to show that you can teach an “Old Dog New Tricks”!

Student of the Year for Care – sponsored by SWAPWest

 

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I feel really grateful and appreciative of this award. When I was told by my lecturer at college that I had been put forward for it, I felt overwhelmed for the recognition of all my hard work and dedication to the course.

I will continue to work hard and produce high standards of work. This award has shown me that with determination and hard work and also self-belief, it will be recognised. I feel that being put forward for the award alone is an achievement in itself.

Student of the Year for Construction, Technology and Trades – sponsored by Ashleigh

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I feel honoured to have won this award  as there is a lot of good students to choose from but I always give 100% to my work and indeed anything I do or take part in because at the end of the day what is the point in doing something, if you don’t love doing it!

This award could open more doors in the future for me, to have this on my CV is brilliant.

Student of the Year for Early Years – sponsored by Ede and Ravenscroft

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To have won this award is overwhelming. It is such an honour to have been chosen and I am very proud that my work and college experience has been recognised. I would say that I have my fellow students and lecturers to thank as I could not have done it without them.

This award has shown me that I am capable of achieving my dream of becoming a primary school teacher. Acknowledging my hard work and dedication has inspired me and given me the confidence I will need to get through university. In the future I would like to be a Primary School Teacher and aspire to work with children with support needs.

Student of the Year for Engineering and Science – sponsored by BAE Systems Regional Aircraft

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It feels awesome to have won this award because I honestly never knew it existed. At HNC/HND level there is nothing to differentiate the grades of students.  An A grade is an A grade, you can’t achieve merit or distinction. It is nice to see that all the hard work and effort does not go unnoticed.

The aerospace industry is extremely competitive and difficult to break into. This award will undoubtedly look good on my CV and hopefully make me look more enticing to a potential employer.

Student of the Year for Hospitality and Tourism – sponsored by Glasgow Prestwick Airport

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It’s a huge honour to receive this award – not only do I feel it’s recognition for the hard work I put in throughout the year, but it’s also made my family very proud too.

Already this has given me a great boost in confidence going into the HND level of Travel and Tourism.

Student of the Year for Music and Performance – sponsored by Developing the Young Workforce

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I’m really thrilled to win this award. I’ve worked very hard over the last year and it feels great to know that all that effort has paid off.

This award has given me the confidence to continue with my studies knowing that, with a bit of hard work, I can achieve my goals.

Student of the Year for Science – sponsored by Wai Beyond

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I am overjoyed as I would have never in a million years thought I would have been able to achieve this award. After a very hard year of studying and working to achieve an ‘A’ in the Graded Unit, this just tops it off!

I think it’ll be a very good award to have on my CV, as it shows the dedication and effort that I put in.

The Institute of Hospitality Award – sponsored by The Institute of Hospitality

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I always wanted to get this award – I believe it will give me an extra boost when applying for jobs, as well as giving me more self-confidence. I have really achieved the best that I can be within my course.

This award should benefit me greatly as it shows that alongside working hard in class, I also manage well and am organised enough to go that extra mile in the work that I do.

Making a Difference in the Community – sponsored by The Rotary Club of Alloway

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I’m at Ayrshire College for my second year, completing my HND Aircraft Engineering, and then I’ll be full-time on the shop floor. I’ll continue learning there and try to get them to send me on new courses!

I’d love to travel. We do secondments at Spirit Aerosystems, and I’d love to go on a couple of them. I know a few people who work here doing composite repair training, and I’d love to do that and travel everywhere.

Outstanding Achievement – sponsored by SQA

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It feels great to have won this award.  It’s given me the confidence to keep on going with what I want to do in the future.  At the moment I’m working towards my own fashion label with the help from a company in Glasgow.  My future plans are to have a successful fashion brand.

The College staff are all great, they want to help and to see you go far in your dreams, so I would definitely recommend going to Ayrshire College!

Respect Roy

You may have noticed we launched our Respect Campaign this week across all campuses.

Respect, in all its forms, may be something that you don’t often think about. Yet it is a crucial quality to develop in order to have effective relationships at college.

Our Respect Campaign highlights the need to ‘Respect Yourself’, ‘Respect the Community’, ‘Respect the Environment’ and ‘Respect People’.

Each strand is vital to understand for their own unique reasons.

This three-part blog will hopefully allow you to reflect on why it’s important to ‘Respect People’, as members of our Estates Team walk you through their daily lives working at our Ayr, Irvine and Kilmarnock campuses.

For the final part of this week’s blog series, we have Roy Bell, a Centre Support Assistant at Irvine, telling his story.


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Our Skills Centre of Excellence Campus in Irvine opened its doors to students in October 2014. It’s a different type of campus to our main three in Ayr, Kilmarnock and Kilwinning.

For one, it’s adjoined to Irvine Royal Academy.

One man who knows all about the differences that come with a campus like this – which caters to Construction, Health and Social Care, Hospitality, and Sport and Fitness students – is Roy Bell.

Roy has worked as a Centre Support Assistant at Irvine since June 2015 and knows every staff member and student that walks through the door.

Roy said “You get to know the students after the first few weeks of term. We do have quite a lot of students here, but I know all of their faces. Most of them say hello to you. You could actually say hello to someone for two or three years every morning without ever knowing their name!

“We’re a smaller campus. There are probably things that I do that other estates staff don’t, purely down to the fact that we don’t have a college cleaner here at all times like they do at the three main campuses.

“We also have an agreement with Irvine Royal Academy where our students are allowed to use the school canteen. So at lunch time I assist in making sure they generally behave themselves. There are rules that the school has for when the students come into the school, so I make sure they are adhered to.”

For two mornings every week, Roy also assists with some duties at the Kilwinning Campus.

“I go there to mainly brush up the cigarette ends outside the smoking areas, and generally keep the place looking clean and tidy. I also have to sticker cars that are parked outwith the designated areas – so if you get a sticker I’ve probably gave it to you!

“In the summer, when our Irvine campus is closed, I assist across the other main campuses. So I get to meet other staff and students.”

So, having experienced the atmosphere at three different campuses – one very different – how does Roy rate the level of respect he receives?

“It’s not bad; the respect I get. The biggest thing that has come up would be the issue of smoking. I’d say we’re quite good here at Irvine purely because of our smaller numbers. You never see anyone smoking on campus, they always go outside the gates. However, we also work in partnership with Irvine Royal Academy on the level of smoking and address any issues as and when they arise.

“A couple of times I’ve had to go out and politely ask students to move away from the entrance areas, and they’ve been fine.

“I would just say to anyone we need to speak to: anything that you’re being told or asked to do, is for your benefit as well as the College’s. We’re not moaning at you, there’s a reason for it. We’re trying to make the place as pleasant as possible for any student or visitor that comes in.”

Please choose to Respect Roy and others like him by disposing of your rubbish and cigarettes appropriately.

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Respect Mary

RESPECT Week 2016 has been launched this week with information stands at Kilmarnock on Monday, Ayr on Tuesday and at the Kilwinning Campus today.

Respect, in all its forms, may be something that you don’t often think about. Yet it is a crucial quality to develop in order to have effective relationships at college.

Our Respect campaign highlights the need to ‘Respect Yourself’, ‘Respect the Community’, ‘Respect the Environment’ and ‘Respect People’.

Each strand is vital to understand for their own unique reasons.

This second post of a three-part blog series will hopefully allow you to reflect on why its important to ‘Respect People’, as members of our Estates team walk you through their daily lives working at our Ayr, Irvine and Kilmarnock Campuses.

Following on from our ‘Respect Billy’ message, we have Mary McAllister, a Cleaning Supervisor at Kilmarnock.


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Mary is approaching the 20 year milestone of her Ayrshire College career. A career which started with a part-time cleaning job at the previous Kilmarnock Campus.

However, if 62 year old Mary thought she had seen it all in her time at the College, then the move to the new Kilmarnock Campus on Hill Street this October has quickly dispelled that notion.

Mary said “We’re still finding our feet in this new building. It’s so big, we’re still getting used to it. I felt the Holehouse Campus was big, but this is massive. It’s a lot more walking so it can be exhausting. I feel like when I arrive in the morning, by the time I’ve cleaned the whole building it’s a bit of a mess again! But we’re getting there – it’ll get easier as time goes on.

“We’ve got a new cleaning system which involves a lot of new machinery. We’re trying to move away from mops – but I think the old fashioned way is the best!”

There are 20 cleaners in total at the Kilmarnock Campus, working a number of different shift patterns. Mary’s always on the 8am-4pm shift, and so spends a lot of her time working around students.

“One of the cleaners will have been here for 30 years come March. Another’s at 26. I’m at 20 now, and then there’s newer ones at the five year mark. It goes to show you that it’s a good place to work. When the College merged there were a lot of new faces to get used to.

“I like them all, I don’t know what they’ll say about me mind you!

“I love my job. People say to me – “you love cleaning?”, and I really do. It’s been 20 years and I still like to walk out at night thinking ‘that building’s nice and clean’. I do take pride in that.

“I love all the different people you meet. The majority of students here are very nice to us. Some can be a little disrespectful in terms of littering and making a mess of the toilets. And where they sit to eat, they don’t always clean up after themselves. It would be great if they could use the bins provided.

“One of the cleaners the other night went to the showers at the gym and there was juice all up the walls. This is a new building, why would you disrespect it like this? It’s a lovely college but it’s got to be looked after.

“Again, most of the College staff are very good. However I do think some staff could maybe do a wee bit more to tell their students to clean up after themselves. Staff also have responsibilities to keep their kitchens tidy, so if they could clean up that would be great.”

By and large though, Mary feels the respect of others.

“I feel I’m respected here. The management are fair and listen to us, Donna Vallance (Vice President – College Estate and New Campus Development) got more cleaners in for us as we were preparing to move to the bigger campus. This level of support has been brilliant – it makes you feel valued and appreciated.”

Please choose to Respect Mary and others like her by disposing of your rubbish and cigarettes appropriately.

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Respect Billy

RESPECT Week 2016 has been launched today at our Kilmarnock Campus, and will continue with information stands at the Ayr campus on Tuesday 22 November and at Kilwinning campus on Wednesday 23rd November from 10am to 2pm.

Respect, in all its forms, may be something that you don’t often think about. Yet it is a crucial quality to develop in order to have effective relationships at college.

Our Respect campaign highlights the need to ‘Respect Yourself’, ‘Respect the Community’, ‘Respect the Environment’ and ‘Respect People’.

Each strand is vital to understand for their own unique reasons.

This first post of a three-part blog series will hopefully allow you to reflect on why its important to ‘Respect People’, as members of our Estates team walk you through their daily lives working at our Ayr, Irvine and Kilmarnock Campuses.

First up we have Billy Gemmell, a Campus Assistant at Ayr.


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“My general duties involve making sure everything’s perfect at this campus. That means opening up the College on time, setting the alarms and maintaining the security of the buildings.” Billy begins.

“We need to make sure the College is warm, clean and comfortable for everyone each day.”

A campus cannot remain perfect at all times, however, without the support from all those who use it.

On a topic that takes up more of Billy’s time than it should – litter – he said “I suppose you’ll always get a bit of litter anywhere but there are things you can do to improve it. Hopefully this ‘Respect’ campaign will do that.

“We have a lot of bins out but it’s not necessarily about the number of bins you put out – you could put 10 bins out or 1,000, but you’ll still find litter lying on the grounds if people choose not to use them.

“Moving to a no smoking campus has also been a big challenge,” Billy states.

“Cigarettes have been a major problem. Some people don’t discard their cigarettes in bins, they just throw them on the ground. There’s a lot of brushing up to be done. It has a big impact on our jobs as it takes us away from other things we could be doing.

“I would say to students and staff here: if you’re smoking or eating, then please put your things in the designated bins when you’re finished. That’s all I could ask them. There’s plenty of bins there.

“The more rubbish around the campus, the more time we spend dealing with it. People might not think too much about that but I would ask them to and dispose of their rubbish in the appropriate bins.”

Billy was at pains to point out that the majority of the people he has encountered each and every day over his past nine years in the role do treat him, and the College building, with respect.

He said “My role sees me interact with students and staff. For example, let’s say students are doing something for charity, I’ll help set stalls up for them. If lecturers need movements in their classrooms, they’ll come to us.

“On the whole, I’ll be honest, most of the students are brilliant. If you ask them to move or do something, they’ll do it.

“Everybody I’ve been involved with at the College over my time here has been first class.

“I would hope they would respect me, because I respect them. I respect the lecturers and the job they do, and I respect the students because that’s the whole reason we’re here. I’d hope I’d get respect from my fellow workers and students would respect facilities and everyone else at the College.

“I take pride in my work. I want to make sure the College is presentable because first impressions count. I want the College to look good, for students, lecturers and visitors to come in.”

Please choose to Respect Billy and others like him by disposing of your rubbish and cigarettes appropriately.

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RESPECT #ourayrshire

At Ayrshire College, we are proud to have a campus community that is respectful, welcoming and inclusive to all.  We want students and staff to be proud of where they study and work, and to create a sense of belonging within the College community.

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Respect involves everyone at the College and Ayrshire College Respect Week 2016 is all about building a respectful environment for both students and staff.

Ayrshire College is proud of its high standards on each campus, offering the latest equipment and technology and its involvement with the local community. This is our local College – it’s where we work and study and we are proud of it and want to look after it and each other.


Our RESPECT campaign 2016 focuses on four main themes, asking students and staff to:

Respect People – Let’s celebrate equality and diversity, and ensure everyone is treated equally, and with mutual trust and respect.

Respect the Environment – encourage all to look after the College environment and enjoy the learning space, by contributing to recycling, using the litter bins provided and to consider greener travel.

Respect the Community – consider the neighbours of the College, by not dropping litter, respecting smoke-free campuses and parking considerately in and around the campuses.

Respect Myself – we believe that good health and wellbeing is essential for our students and staff to achieve their goals.  Respect starts with yourself.

RESPECT Week highlights the importance of working alongside the Student Association, Estates team, Equalities, Health & Safety and Student Services teams and Police Scotland/NHS partners and supporting the work they do on a daily basis to promote respect.

Ayrshire College launches RESPECT Week on Monday 21st November at the Kilmarnock Campus.  Look out for information stands across campus between 10am and 2pm from Monday 21st November.  We’ll be at the Ayr campus on Tuesday 22 November and at Kilwinning campus on Wednesday 23rd November from 10am to 2pm.

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