New Campus Countdown: Focus on Sport and Fitness

As we continue our countdown to the new Kilmarnock Campus, this month we turn the curriculum spotlight on the Sport and Fitness department.

The College’s Centre of Sporting Excellence will accommodate over 300 sport and fitness students as they move from their current home at Townholm.

We caught up with John McTaggart, Curriculum Manager for Sport and Fitness.

Tell us about the Sport & Fitness department at Ayrshire College


We are all about giving people with an interest in sport and fitness the chance to increase their employment opportunities by developing the skills, qualifications and experience that they need to progress.

We have NC level to HND level courses, which range from Coaching and Developing Sport to Fitness, Health and Exercise.

Many of our students have progressed to university and are now working as P.E. teachers, some are even working at the College. Others have gained employment with local councils, sports centres, gyms as well as securing full-time jobs abroad in the industry.

Due to the nature of the course where they have the opportunity to engage with such a wide spectrum of society through placement and volunteering opportunities, students gain essential life skills which enable them to join various uniformed services including the police, fire brigade, and armed services.

We have great opportunities for students, which provide the best chance possible to reach their full potential.

What initiatives are your team involved with?

We pride ourselves on the partnership work we do with various community groups. They are an integral part of our curriculum essential to the professional and personal development of our students.

Students, staff and the College have been recognised for this partnership working, SQA, College Development Network and Youthlink Scotland. We were the first educational establishment to be awarded 5 STAR’s by Scottish Student Sport for our community work.

‘Headline makers’ have included:

  • Sports Coaching students have been fitness testing Ayrshire’s next crop of rugby stars.
  • Fitness students have secured personal trainer jobs at one of Ayrshire’s biggest gyms.
  • Our students are the first in the West of Scotland to receive a brand new specialist coaching course delivered by the Scottish Football Association.

We have had several award-winning students pass through our doors, highlighting the fantastic work we carry out around the College and beyond.

What do you think makes the department successful?

I believe the key to a successful Sport and Fitness department is the willingness of staff and students to engage with the College and the wider community.

Going that ‘extra mile’ is important in order to maximise existing opportunities and create new ones.

How important is working with local employers to the department?

Working with local employers is essential to the department. In recent years we have had four former students gain full-time employment with East Ayrshire Active School. This is as a direct result of our students gaining work experience with A/S, be mentored by the A/S staff alongside school staff and community partners.

We work closely with Ayr United and Kilmarnock F.C. who have employed many of our students on a part-time and full-time basis.

What facilities and equipment will the students benefit from?

We are very excited to introduce our students to our new 3G, floodlit football pitch. This will be an innovative new area for our students to learn, have fun and reach their potential. We will also have a modern new games hall and dance studio.

There will be a big focus on the health and fitness courses as we will have an industry-designed gym and fitness facilities which will provide our students with enhanced essential skills, knowledge, opportunities and experiences which will make them even more attractive to potential employers.

There will also be fantastic sponsorship opportunities available to local companies as well as our facilities being available to the public. We are looking forward to using this ‘new era’ as the chance to make our Sport and Fitness department even better.

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

A list of all Sport and Fitness related courses can be found by clicking here.

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