More students benefit from Community Windpower Ltd partnership

On our website, we recently brought you the news that two of our Wind Turbine Technician students had joined Community Windpower Ltd on a two week work placement in Frodsham.

James Seymour and Billy Shearer were interviewed from the many students who had registered their interest in the opportunity. Almost everyone in the class sent in their CVs for consideration – after the placement was heralded as a huge success last year, the first time we’d worked with Community Windpower.

Andrew Brown, one of two students selected in 2015, said “I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Community Windpower. I have learned a lot and I am very sure this will benefit myself for future employment.”

Now that Andrew has finished his studies, he has indeed found employment within the wind energy industry.

So we’ve decided to catch up with James and Billy to find out how they found the placement this year.

Community Windpower Ltd

Billy (right)

I thought it was a great opportunity to get hands-on experience within the renewables industry, and see what goes on behind the scenes. The course we’re doing at Ayrshire College is a lot more maintenance based so I was interested to see how it works as a business, and what goes on behind the maintenance role.

I’ve always been fascinated by the technology. I went up to Whitelees one day through my last job with Scottish Power and as soon as I saw it for myself, I realised what I wanted to do. I wanted to work with these machines and get into the renewables industry.

It’s a job to be proud of, I feel like I’m making a bit of a difference.

So we went away for two weeks, just outside of Chester. The first week I was with the Planning and Development team, where I was in charge of doing a site assessment report. They gave me a location and took me through the process of finding it on the map, putting all the constraints on top of it – the issues and boundaries that they come across – and then I had to report on it. At the end of the two weeks I had to actually present to the team, with the opportunity for it to be turned into a live project.

The second week was with the Operations and Technical team, dealing with SCADA systems. They monitor the windfarm and the turbines, and on a daily basis download all the data from the turbine: how much energy it’s produced, what faults occurred, any downtime on the turbine. They then need to report on that.

We learn a lot about SCADA systems within the College so it was good to get hands-on experience of working with them.

One of the highlights for me was going to one of their windfarms at Dalry. They took us on site and we got into the base of the turbine. We met with some of the techs and the site manager who gave us plenty of advice too.

The experience was totally invaluable.

James (left)

I decided to apply because I was really looking for as much experience as I could get from this industry. I thought if I could get in with Community Windpower, it’d be a good start.

Billy and I swapped during the two weeks, so the first week I was working with the SCADA systems, communicating with the people working with the turbines.

The whole experience was brilliant. You got to see a site from development all the way up to operations. When a site’s actually in operation you then got to see the working of it on a day-to-day basis.

I’d thought about getting into the industry for ages. I’d worked for Motorola in East Kilbride and then when that was closed down, I gave it a lot of thought, but someone talked me out of it. It’s always been at the back of my mind and finally I got back around to it; I’m really enjoying it.

A big thanks to Community Windpower for taking us down, being really accepting of us and helping us out with everything that we were asking. They gave us a great insight into what the industry is like.

Ben Fielding is a Project Manager with Community Windpower, and he has been instrumental in developing the company’s relationship with the College.

Ben said “The placement scheme has been designed to provide the students with invaluable work experience within the industry.

“Ayrshire College and Community Windpower are committed to further student placements.”

Spotlight on women in computing – Claire Beattie

Claire Beattie 2Claire Beattie works as a service desk analyst for brightsolid, an award winning company which provides data centre and cloud services. In this article, Claire shares her passion for computing and hopes it will inspire other young women into the digital sector.

In school I really enjoyed Computing and Technology Studies, however, as no girls took these classes I didn’t take them and I ended up taking Office Information Studies and learned to touch type. We did a test in high school with a series of questions that would determine the right job for you, to help us pick what we would like to do for work experience. I was given fishmonger as my top job! I hate fish and could think of nothing worse! I ended up doing office work.

I was in my 20’s when I decided to finally study what actually interested me. I wasn’t happy working in administration – I found it boring. I was given an old computer which I took to a local repair shop and they advised me that it would need a better CPU (Central Processing Unit) and more RAM (memory). These terms meant nothing to me, but I was curious. I learned how to install these in my own computer and couldn’t believe how easy it was! I felt a great sense of achievement. This was a huge deal to me and I knew then that this was what interested me.

I started at college doing NC Digital Media, which was a fantastic introduction to just about everything you could think of. I did a bit of programming with Visual Basic, basic web design, Microsoft Office applications, Microsoft Desktop/Server support and computer networking. I thoroughly enjoyed this course and it showed me that my strengths were with computer networking, and not with hardware and programming like I hoped. I then completed HND Computer Networking and my CCNA, which is the foundation Cisco certificate.

At brightsolid, I’m a Service Desk Analyst and here is what I actually do in my job.

I’m the first point of contact for all of our customers, and internal support for our colleagues. Some days I could be dealing with run of the mill issues like helping with customer changes, then the next day we could have a serious issue regarding a customer’s service which means we are all hands on deck to resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

The coolest part of my job is being able to work on and learn daily about different things. I find technology interesting and being able to learn something new every day is probably what is best for me. But what about you? Could a career in the digital sector be for you too?

Just look at the technological advances the world has made in the last 30 years? We have the internet for a start! Without that you wouldn’t have your social media and be able to share your endless selfies, hashtags, pictures of your food and share cat videos! Now we are using our phones to take pictures, videos, text, facetime, email, use social media, banking and shopping – the list goes on. Then there’s gaming. Everyone’s a gamer these days, from Candy Crush on a mobile/tablet, to people who use Steam or a games console.

All of these cool things that we take for granted every day have people behind the scenes making it possible.

You need networking engineers around the world to create and administer the complex networks that create the internet, this is what allows us to connect with one another.

We need server engineers to make sure that our servers are up and running smoothly, our data is safe and for simple things like maintaining our gaming servers. Server and networking engineers that maintain our gaming servers, and the connections to them, limit the amount of times we are screaming about ‘lag’ and ‘glitches’ when playing Call of Duty and I, for one, am extremely grateful.

We need programmers to write all of the programs for the websites/social media applications/games that we use daily, and then there are games designers. The people who design all of the game content for things such as GTA V, or the likes of Until Dawn. Games are becoming more and more lifelike, through the amazing art that is possible with the use of computers and the fantastic software created to make it possible.

I was just speaking to someone today about the oculus rift. Virtulisation is becoming possible now. Virtual gaming? I mean wow! How cool would that be? Let’s remember how excited people got about the Nintendo Wii, as you could use the remote and fitness board to physically take part. Now we can immerse ourselves fully into our games. This would have taken people who understand hardware, software, programming and game design to make a single device. Albeit a really cool device of which I’m sure every home will have, much like a home computer.

How cool would it be to be a part of something like the creation of the oculus rift? The latest computer game? Or to be behind the scenes, like me, helping everything tick over so that we can take advantage of what we now see as normal?

The digital sector is just going to grow and grow. IT jobs are paid well and the more you learn, the more you can do and the more your salary will increase. Working in IT can give you a level of flexibility, although the internet never sleeps – everyone wants to be connected at all times of the day, which means there needs to be people out there on hand to support them. If you were to work in an office, administering its internal IT, then you might be a bit flexible during office hours. However, if you work for a Data Centre like me, we need staff to be readily available all day every day.

According to economists, there is lack of young people interested in computing, meaning that that we don’t have enough people going into the growing IT sector. The government believes that part of this to be due to the lack of girls interested, as working in the IT industry is seen as predominantly a man’s job.

I would say to any girls reading this article – if technology or computing interests you, go for it! Don’t be put off due to the lack of girls taking a course you like the sound of, and don’t give into peer pressure to go for the supposed ‘norm’ of being a beautician, hairdresser, nurse – or like me, an office administrator! I’m in no way having a go at people who have/are taking these courses or that work in these fields. My point is that you need to do something that interests you.

People think that computing is for geeks. Well, given that being a geek is now becoming cool/trendy, there is no better time to jump on board! Do you think that Bill Gates cared about being a geek when he created the Windows operating system and is one of the richest men in the world? Do you think that Steve Jobs cared about being a geek when every teen in the world seemed have an iPhone? And do you think that Mark Zuckerberg cares that he is a geek given how widely used Facebook is and how wealthy he is? Without them, home computing wouldn’t be as it is today, and we wouldn’t have the social media network or the convenience of using it on the move.

I hope to be working as a networking engineer in 5 years time, although I’m not sure in which capacity yet as there are different avenues I can take. I’m thinking of going down the route of internet security, but I guess I’ll just have to wait and see what becomes available to me and what interests me the most!


Developing OUR young workforce with Modern Apprentices

MAsThe Scottish Government aims to support 30,000 Modern Apprenticeship starts per year by 2020 as part of its Developing the Young Workforce youth employment strategy. Last year 1,980 people started an apprenticeship in Ayrshire – but there is potential for much more.

Ayrshire College, East, North and South Ayrshire Councils, and the Developing the Young Workforce Ayrshire regional group are working together to encourage more employers to invest in young talent through Modern Apprenticeships.

Gillian Brown, HR Manager, explains how recruiting two Modern Apprentices will enhance our teams and support the development of the College’s young workforce.

Ayrshire College is all about supporting the development of young talent in Ayrshire. We do this by providing industry relevant courses and work experience opportunities with employers across Ayrshire that help young people start their careers. We are now investing in our own young workforce by employing two new Modern Apprentices.

We are looking for one apprentice to join our marketing team to help with digital marketing, and another to join the ICT team to help with our network technical support service. We need young people who are confident using, and excited about exploring, new technology.

For us, the main benefits of investing in Modern Apprentices is that young people bring fresh ideas, enthusiasm and different perspective to an organisation, which helps us be more innovative.

For the young person, there are many benefits gained by following this career path. They will learn from experienced people around them and gain industry relevant qualifications, so that when they have completed their Modern Apprenticeship they have the skills and experience required for a job in our organisation.

Ayrshire College is a great place to work. We are one of the largest employers in Ayrshire and apprentices will gain experience of working in teams with a diverse range of people – inside and outwith the College.

In return, we are looking for young people who have a great work ethic, a positive attitude and can demonstrate they have initiative.

These Modern Apprenticeships are ideal for young people who are just leaving school or college. You will benefit from work-based training as well as national qualifications awarded. We want people to apply for these posts who are ambitious and keen to start a successful career in digital marketing or ICT.

Please share this post with your network and help us promote these fantastic Modern Apprenticeship opportunities. Full information on each post and application forms are available here. Don’t delay, the closing date for both posts is 12 noon on Friday 13 May.

Want to find out more about Modern Apprenticeships

Read Why we think Modern Apprenticeships are great

If you are interested in recruiting a Modern Apprentice or supporting an existing employee go through an apprenticeship, we might be able to help. Go to our website for more information.


Meet Lauren Brock, HNC Computer Games Development student

Lauren Brock (2)Lauren Brock studied physics at university after leaving school, but changed direction with her career, opting to study computer games development at Ayrshire College. We asked Lauren about her journey into the gaming industry.

What did you do before going to college?

At secondary school, my interests were always geared towards animation. I started studying physics at university, but quickly realised it wasn’t what I wanted to do.

I was more interested in finding out what happens ‘behind the scenes’ of games, the art of CGI and graphics.

I took a few years off to start a family, but always knew I’d go back to pursuing a computer games career, so 5 years later I started the HNC Computer Games Development at Ayrshire College.

What attracted you to a career in computing?

I see gaming as a blend of technical knowledge, problem solving and creativity – which really appeals to me. I think there’s a notion that working in gaming is all about the design side of things, but there’s so much more to it.

You’d be amazed how many different jobs go into producing a computer game. The wide range of jobs available really appeals to me.  RAISING ASPIRATIONS | INSPIRING ACHIEVEMENT | INCREASING OPPORTUNITIES

Meet Shireen Robb, HND Technical Support student

Shireen RobbAfter starting at the College on the uniformed services course, Shireen Robb had wanted to become a police officer but health reasons prevented her from pursuing this. We asked Shireen why she chose to get into computing instead.

What attracted you to a career in computing?

It seemed the next natural option for me. I’ve always liked working with computers and liked finding out about new technology, so I decided to start with the NC Digital Media course, which led to me getting into the technical support side of the industry.

What has been the highlight of the course for you so far?

I’ve just got back from an educational trip to Disneyland Paris, which was fantastic. I was able to relate subjects I have learned during my time at college, and see how they are used in the real working environment – all in the Disneyland setting!

It was an opportunity to look at the way computing is used in the theme park industry. This was not something that would have crossed my mind before, but the amount of computing involved was amazing – everything from data security, motion, lighting, safety and special effects.

It was also really good to mix with students from other computing courses at the college too. As well as a great trip, I’ve made new friends.

What would you say to encourage young girls to think about a career in computing?

One of the things I’ve found with a career in computing is that there are so many doors to open and explore. There’s so many different aspects to the industry and so much involved, that the options are vast. I like to have a choice and there’s definitely that!

What’s coming up next for you?

I’ve got an interview soon with Dell in Glasgow as a Technical Support Associate. Long term, I’d really like to progress and get more industry accreditations.


Technicians make IT happen

In April 2016, an exhibition Technicians Make It Happen in London aimed to dispel outdated notions of what it means to be a technician, highlight the diversity of technician roles in a range of industries and show how important technicians are to the success of organisations and the wider economy.

Ayrshire College ICT technicians, Helen Blakely and Dawn Rowe, make IT happen for our students and staff. They spoke to us about where their career in computing has taken them so far and what they do on a daily basis.


What do you actually do?

Helen – my job changes every day, there are always new things to learn, new problems to fix. It can be anything from as simple as changing passwords around the college, to working out complicated software installations.

Dawn – I think our job is unique, in that we help absolutely everyone in the college from students, to staff, to guest speakers who are only in the college for a day. It’s really nice as you get to know everyone as you’re involved with every department.

How has your career taken shape?

Helen – I’ve always had an interest in building, creating, and figuring out how things work. And, if they don’t work, finding out why and fixing the problem. I studied computing at the old Kilmarnock College initially, then went on to work for ICI. Sixteen years ago I got a job at the College as an ICT Technician and have never looked back.

Dawn – I worked as a stock controller at a time when computing was taking over a lot of the manual jobs. I was really interested in technology, so thought it was a good time to retrain. I studied at Ayrshire College, started with NC Computing. Once I finished HND Computing, I went on to the third year of a computing degree at UWS. I became an ICT Technician at Ayrshire College 2 years ago and I love it!

What advice would you give to other women and young girls interested in a career in computing?

Helen – I was the first and only female ICT Technician at the College for a long time. I have to say that I’ve never really felt that this is an issue as we have a great team. My advice would be, don’t let the boys put you off!

What challenges have you faced in your job and how have you overcome them?

Helen – There are always challenges in our job, which is what makes it so interesting. Technology changes so fast, you have to keep yourself up to date with the latest software and systems and that can be challenging when you’re so busy.

What’s great about our job, is that people are always happy to see you as they know you’re there to help with any technical difficulties. It’s good to solve issues with them.

Dawn – There are challenges. It’s important to have good communication skills as well as the technical skills in our job as you’re speaking to different people every day. That’s a great part about the job, and another reason why no two days are the same, as you get to meet everyone!

What are the highlights of your job?

Helen – There’s a lot of highlights about this job, but we’re particulatly looking forward to working on the new Kilmarnock Campus. It’s a new challenge!

We’ll be helping to set up all the new ICT equipment, working with the latest technology, making sure it all runs smoothly for the students artiving in September – so it’s something to look forward to. I am very excited about that.



23 years and still learning!

gillian dochertyGillian Docherty is Chief Executive of The Data Lab. She has over 23 years’ experience working in the IT sector and is responsible for delivering the strategic vision of The Data Lab , the aim of which is to create over 250 new jobs and to generate more than £100 million to Scotland’s economy.The Data Lab is one of eight innovation centres funded by the Scottish Funding Council and it supports the development of new data science capabilities in Scotland.

Working in the technology industry for almost 23 years, every day I learn something new.  The pace of change has increased significantly and technology is changing everyone’s lives.  The way we interact with our bodies, our friends and family, our doctors, our peers and colleagues is changed by technology advances and, with the internet of things, connected fridges and washing machines are on the way.   In fact, it is predicted that there will be 20.8 billion connected ‘things’ by 2020.

I will share some of my journey to my current role as Chief Executive of The Data Lab and some of the fantastic opportunities I have had along the way and those I think are still to come.

When I was at school there were no computing courses until I was in my 6th year, but I really enjoyed sciences, maths and problem solving so it was a natural progression to take a module in computing when it became available.  I was excited about the new opportunities computing enabled but wasn’t as visionary as Steve Jobs unfortunately.  I followed that course by taking Computing at university and secured a graduate role at IBM. If I’m really honest, I wasn’t fully aware how important that decision was and how a whole world of opportunity would open up.

I started with IBM in Portsmouth, which seemed such a long way from Glasgow at the time, but I enjoyed joining with a graduate cohort where there was as many women as men. We had a lot of fun, the jobs were varied and we had lots of opportunity to move around and experience new departments. My role was as a technical specialist supporting systems from IBM and their clients, and the teams I worked in were some of the best in the world at what they did. So I had a great grounding in systems which ran FTSE 100 businesses.

I then took the opportunity to spend 3 months in IBM’s Almaden lab in San Jose when Silicon Valley was full of semi-conductor and manufacturing capabilities. Coming home an expert in a particular IBM product, I was asked to work directly with customers in IBM’s sales teams. I found getting to know different clients every day, understanding their problems and challenges really excited me and kept me motivated to keep learning and deliver value to the clients.  

Working in London and Edinburgh I supported many clients, coached and mentored many new colleagues and every day was enthused by the possibilities of technology and I was amazed as it changed the world a little bit every day.  For the last few years before joining The Data Lab I ran various parts of IBM’s business in Scotland including the hardware and software businesses – growing those businesses and building the right teams to support our clients.

In 2015 I had the possibility to make a big change, so after 22 years with IBM I resigned to join The Data Lab as chief executive. The Data Lab is an innovation centre helping Scottish businesses leverage the opportunity of data science and analytics with the intent of driving economic growth and high value jobs. 

The opportunity to make a fundamental change to the Scottish landscape and work with some many diverse industry partners both in size and focus was too good to turn down. Each and every day I speak with new start-ups, to growing scale-out companies to large global corporates and evangelise about the possibilities leveraging data in new ways can open up.

You may be wondering what I mean by data science and analytics so a few examples may help.

Netflix is a data driven business, and a recent example of their data analysis drove what House of Cards trailer you may have seen. They created 10 trailers and you will have seen the trailer that was most relevant to you based on your viewing habits. They collect billions of data points every day and build algorithms to analyse everything you do and recommend new shows and also show you the most suitable and attractive trailers for shows that may be of interest.

IBM’s Watson (a cognitive system) was created as part of a research project in 2011, and its first outing was to win the US game show Jeopardy. It is now working with oncologists helping analyse and understand more complex cancer cases, ingesting data from every research paper, clinical trial and previous case histories.  It helps oncologists diagnose complex cancer cases and recommend treatment pathways.

New Scottish startup Sansibles has developed ‘LiveSkin’ intelligent sensors for use in contact sports such as rugby. The sensors are fitted in players’ shoulder pads to capture data from collisions on the playing field. The data can then be wirelessly transferred in real-time to a specially designed app that sport coaches, physiotherapists and medics can use to monitor the force exerted by the athletes in a tackle or a scrummage, as well as examine how their bodies recover from injury. This information can be used to improve training regimes and rehabilitation programmes to better reflect how players recuperate.

Every day I come across Scottish companies using data in new and innovative ways and I am extremely positive about the opportunities to get involved in some exciting projects. Every day I continue to learn and appreciate how technology and data in particular is changing every aspect of our life.

Find out more about The Data Lab in this short film

Bringing Virtual Reality to the classroom

Russell Wilson, Learning Technologist

Hi, and welcome to April’s Learning Technology blog post. Remember back in the early 1990’s when most people’s perception of Virtual Reality was that of entering a world similar to the 1992 film ‘The Lawnmower Man’? Subsequently, what people think about the term ‘virtual reality’ (VR) is that they imagine a scene where somebody is wired up to a computer wearing an odd helmet and making weird movements in the air. However, in 2016, things could start to get a little different …

First off some major companies are backing the use of Virtual Reality from a consumer standpoint this year. Already released and available to purchase are Samsung’s Gear, HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, with Playstation releasing its version later in the year.

So why are we telling you about VR? Well, the fact is this form of technology has many applications now, and in the future, for the learning environment. Just as the use of iPads in the classroom far exceeded expectations, VR could go the same way. At a school in the Czech Republic pupils have taken part in a ground-breaking experiment. Instead of paper and pens they used VR and gesture control to drop them into a fascinating, immersive and educational experience. Take a look …

Nearpod which is a classroom iPad app already available to the staff at Ayrshire College via the Learning Resource Centre’s iPads in a box, and the company behind them is backing the launch of virtual reality lessons in Schools across the US. Take a look at the full article here: Virtual Reality Learns How to Get Into the Classroom

As a tool for the classroom many of the statistics have yet to be gathered, but what is clear is the thirst from students to utilise technology in the classroom and the benefit they get from this. VR tools have already been used to collaboratively to construct architectural models, recreations of historic or natural sites and other spatial renderings.

Lecturers have used VR technology to engage students in topics related to literature, history and economics by offering a deeply immersive sense of place and time, whether historic or evolving, to take them to places related to their studies that are inaccessible in real life. Such as Space, the inside of a Nuclear Reactor or an inhospitable part of the planet.

Knowing this our department has invested in some affordable VR to start researching and piloting any applications that may be beneficial to our students and staff. VR headsets that can be used with smartphones are a cost effective way of starting to embrace this technology. We now have these in our college.4These are also available from Amazon just now but if anyone wishes to try an even cheaper alternative then perhaps Google Cardboard is for you.

Or take a leaf out of McDonalds and Coca-Colas book and create VR headsets from their packaging:

“Coca-Cola has not yet released their cardboard virtual reality headset, but McDonalds has. If you didn’t know this existed it is probably because it is only available in Sweden. They, much like Google and Coca-Cola, have produced a virtual reality device that is centered around cardboard. McDonalds, however, produces theirs with Happy Meal boxes. For a limited time only, they are offering this to their customers in Sweden. They are dubbed Happy Goggles, and they are created by tearing off a specific part of the box and folding it. After that, VR lenses are inserted and then it can be used with a smartphone.”

We hope you have enjoyed this brief introduction to this newest incarnation of VR and we do hope to demonstrate some applications for lessons soon. 2016 so far does seem to be the year that VR will make an impact on the world.

In the meantime if you wish to see the VR in action or want to know more about its practical applications for the classroom please contact the Learning Technology team at

Google IT – Do Cool Things That Matter!

At Google, the staff (Googlers) solve complex problems every day in a mission is to organise the world’s information and make it universally accessible. What is it like to work for an organisation like Google and what kind of jobs do they actually do? We caught up with Heather Traher, Senior User Experience Researcher who works in the San Francisco office to find out more about her job and what it’s like to work for Google.

What do you actually do?

My job involves researching how people use technology, and looking for opportunities to make it easier and more helpful for Google’s tools to fit into their lives. Sometimes this means just interviewing people, or going out in the field and observing how they work or do things at home. Other times it’s testing out new ideas and prototypes in a research lab before they are turned into real products for the general public. There’s also surveys and other research tools that feed into how Google thinks about product development. I focus on qualitative research, which is the “why” side of things that complements the “what” that we can see in user logs.

How has your career taken shape between leaving school and now?

After school I did a degree in fine arts. From there I started working in interactive design firms, and was exposed to user research from a colleague practising in the field a few years out of uni. I was really inspired, and was mentored on the job to transition my career into doing research full time.

What attracted you to a career in technology?

It wasn’t something I pictured myself doing when I was applying for university, but during my time studying new media I started coding HTML and doing other things like that to complete my art projects. I became really interested in how people use technology, and how design can make people’s lives better.

What would you say to encourage girls and young women to think about a career in technology?

Girls can do a lot to help other girls – look for a professional mentor who can help answer your questions. Don’t be afraid to build things based on your own ideas! Google is a great workplace for women. Google empowers women to succeed by providing academic scholarships to future leaders in technology and supporting employee resource groups like Women@Google.

If someone had an ambition to work for Google where can they find out about careers?

Google has over 70 offices in more than 40 countries and is always hiring somewhere! Current positions are online at In the UK there are offices in Manchester and London. The company also runs a robust internship program that students can apply for while studying for a degree, masters or PHD courses. If you fancy being a Googler and working for one of the coolest organisations in the world, check out our website and learn about our teams

People have taken all kinds of paths to get a job with Google. You can start right here in Ayrshire by enrolling on one of our computing courses



International Girls in ICT Day 2016


International Girls in ICT Day takes place each year on the fourth Thursday in April.

This year it will be celebrated on 28 April with activity taking place across the world to promote the importance of attracting more girls and women into computing.

Ayrshire College wants more young people to take advantage of increasing opportunities in digital occupations and we are fully behind this initiative. Here is a flavour of what to expect from us in the days leading up to International Girls in ICT Day.

Industry body e-Skills UK forecast that there could be up to 11,000 job opportunities in Scotland each year in technology roles. Last week, the Institute for Public Policy Research and Burning Glass launched Where the work is to compare entry-level employer demand for occupations such as IT technicians and the number of students completing related courses. It reinforced industry forecasts that there are good opportunities available in Scotland for college leavers with relevant qualifications, predicting over 5,500 jobs with an average salary of over £30,000.

Despite these opportunities too few young people, particularly young women, are choosing to build a career in IT. Women are under-represented in IT occupations and make up just 17% of IT specialists working in the UK. At Ayrshire College, we are trying to address this by sparking an interest in computer coding and technology at a young age.

We work with schools to stimulate interest in IT careers amongst young people, for example by organising CoderDojo clubs for 7 to 17 year-olds who want to learn to code. This year, to coincide with International Girls in ICT Day, we are hosting CoderDojo clubs at our Kilmarnock Campus for girls and boys, and at Barassie Primary School.


This week we are also launching three Foundation Apprenticeships for S4/S5 pupils in schools across Ayrshire, including IT:Software Development – click here for information. An information session will be held on the eve of International Girls in ICT Day at 5.30pm on Wednesday 27 April in our Kilmarnock Campus.

And look out for more exciting news later this week about our commitment to provide opportunities for young people to build careers in this exciting growth sector.

Each year, throughout the week that International Girls in ICT Day takes place, we publish posts on our blog from women in computing – some in senior positions in the industry, some at the start of their careers, and others studying at college. This year, our contributors include:

Keep checking into our blog for more!