Historic week for Ayrshire College

A series of announcements in the week beginning 2 June 2014 will be remembered for a long time to come in Ayrshire.

Principal Heather Dunk explains.


Tuesday 3 June – Breaking new ground in North Ayrshire

On the same day that Sir Ian Wood’s report on developing Scotland’s young workforce was published, Ayrshire College and North Ayrshire Council announced an innovative shared campus development. The Skills Centre of Excellence – the first of its kind in Scotland – will be based at Irvine Royal Academy and will build a closer relationship between subjects taught at school, college courses and employability programmes.

From September 2014, the Centre will deliver sports and health and social care courses. Hospitality, construction and engineering courses will be introduced in 2015. This is a fantastic opportunity for the College and North Ayrshire Council to achieve the very first recommendation in Sir Ian’s report on delivering industry recognised courses to senior school pupils alongside existing qualifications.

Vocational courses offered by the Skills Centre of Excellence will be available to young people beyond Irvine Royal’s catchment area, contributing to achieving our vision of raising aspirations, inspiring achievement and increasing opportunities for all young people in North Ayrshire. The Skills Centre of Excellence is the start of an exciting new chapter for the College in North Ayrshire and I look forward to welcoming the first intake of students in September.

Wednesday 4 June – Building work on new campus begins

The College reached a major milestone in our £53 million new campus development project in Kilmarnock when Financial Close took place on 4 June, which meant that work could begin on the site.

This is the beginning of a 25 year contract with C3, a consortium consisting of 3i Infrastructure plc, McLaughlin & Harvey Ltd and SPIE FS Northern UK Ltd. As well as delivering state of the art learning facilities, the new build project will create more than 170 construction jobs, apprenticeship places and numerous work placements for students.

The Kilmarnock Campus will totally transform Hill Street and the surrounding area. The innovative campus building will offer world class facilities for students, as well as being an excellent resource for local people, businesses and the wider community in Ayrshire.

Ambitious for Ayrshire

This was a truly historic week for Ayrshire College which reinforced how committed we are to raising the aspirations of the people and communities of Ayrshire. The investment in our Ayr and Kilwinning campuses, our new Kilmarnock campus and our new Skills Centre of Excellence in Irvine means that we will increase opportunities for students across Ayrshire.

There has never been a more exciting time to study in Ayrshire.


Bringing Employers and Education Together

The final report of the Commission on Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce was published on 3 June 2014.

Earlier this year Ayrshire College Principal, Heather Dunk, delivered a speech at the Commission’s national summit in Edinburgh. Heather spoke about how the College is connecting employers and education to support economic growth and young people into employment, and demonstrated this in the following video.

Here’s a summary of the young people featured in the video.

James – Apprentice at GSK, Irvine

James wanted to study a science higher education qualification when he left school. After ruling out university, he decided to embark on a science course at college. When he saw an advert for a process chemistry apprenticeship at Glaxo SmithKline he applied and is now combining study for an HNC Applied Science at the College with work-based learning at the company.

Shaun – Apprentice at Dustacco Engineering in Newmilns

Shaun knew at school that he wanted to work in a job related to engineering and went to college to study a Level 2 qualification. In his second year at college he chose to specialise in welding and secured a month-long work experience placement with Dustacco Engineering who then offered him an apprenticeship.

Lesley – Owner of Lesley McDonald Hair & Beauty, Troon

Lesley achieved a clutch of Highers at school and was encouraged to go to university. However, she wanted to be a hairdresser and chose to follow her ambitions. In 2010, at just 22 years old, Lesley set up her own company and four years on she now employs six staff. A firm believer in balancing college learning with experience in the workplace, two of her employees are undertaking qualifications at Ayrshire College. Practising what she believes in, Lesley is studying an HNC to develop her own skills.

Find out more about James, Shaun and Lesley and read more on how Ayrshire College is supporting employers in Ayrshire College News.