A week in the life of a Police Officer

Brogan Robertson is a 17-year-old student at Ayrshire College on the Prince’s Trust course.  As part of her course, she was required to undertake work experience in an area she is passionate about. 

Brogan is keen to join the police and plans to enrol in the Police Studies course starting in September. 

We caught up with Brogan’s week in the life of a Police Officer as she shadowed the College’s Campus Liaison Officer, PC Kimberley Bradford.

Brogan said “I’ve done so much in a short space of time. From day one, I kept a diary of my experiences which I updated at the end of every day. It was really useful, as I was taught to keep this up to date and take details like a police officer would.

Some of the highlights of the week included:

  • Meeting the Student Association to discuss up and coming events and the different opportunities to engage with the students at Freshers’ Week.
  • Visiting Kilmarnock Police Station where I had a tour of the custody suite, and found out how prisoners are processed. I got a quick look into the cells and saw someone being processed, where finger prints are taken, interview rooms, that kind of thing.
  • Attending the Kilwinning Campus to hear PC Kimberley Bradford give a hate crime / 3rd party reporting presentation to staff. I learned quite a bit from this – for example, I didn’t know that Ayrshire College was a third party reporter to the students, staff, and the public.
  • Going to the Mounted Branch in Stewarton to meet the police horses and see the new recruits start their 16-week training course. I got to see how professional the riding officers and the horses are. It was very impressive.
  • Visiting the Force Training Centre in Jackton where I learned more about the police application process and was taken on a tour of the recruitment department. It was just amazing!
  • Being shown around the Police Scotland Dog branch by the dog handler, Constable Janet Findlay, who was the ‘kennel maid’ that day. The dogs, including a puppy, were very well behaved and focused on what they were doing. I learnt that the police officers train the dogs themselves and the dogs are trained for many situations such as finding fire arms, explosives, drugs and tracing people.
  • Completing a mock fitness test at Kay Park in Kilmarnock where I did a police-style warm-up session before doing the timed run. I ran 1.5 miles in 23 minutes, 49 seconds. At the end of my work experience we did the fitness test again, and I managed to cut my time by 3 minutes and 27 seconds! 
  • Going to Ayr Sheriff Court to sit in on a summary court which covered three cases in half an hour. Afterwards, I got to see a judge and jury style proceeding. We had to leave before the verdict but got to hear the speeches from the Procurator Fiscal and the defence lawyer. It was a good experience to go and see what a court is actually like.

police - Copy

  • Meeting Traffic Police in Irvine Police Station where I learned that there are two driving units – the Divisional Road unit and the Trunk Roads unit. I also got shown a traffic car and the equipment used, which was quite exciting. I was given a breath test which came back zero!

What have been the highlights for you this week?

I can’t really choose a highlight, it’s all been great!  If I had to choose, the first highlight would be being at the dog branch, and seeing the dogs being trained from puppies. My second highlight would be taking 3 minutes off of my run time.

My time with Kimberley has made me more motivated to go ahead with a career in the police. Overall, I really enjoyed my experience and I am proud of myself for pushing my limits. I will definitely stick to getting fitter and improving my running time.

The work experience has definitely been beneficial, as I’ve been given an opportunity that not so many people who want to join the police get. I have learned so much and I’m sad that it’s over!

I have enjoyed every single minute of my work experience and I can’t thank PC Kimberley Bradford enough for letting me shadow her and for making it an amazing experience.

What’s next for you?

When I’ve finished the Prince’s Trust programme, I’m going on to do Police Studies at the College, then maybe Social Sciences.  I’d love to be a police officer when I’ve finished my studies, and would like to specialise in either the traffic police or become a dog handler.


Campus Police Officer Kimberley Bradford said “Brogan has truly been a breath of fresh air. She has been motivated, enthusiastic, well presented and polite. She has shown a keen interest in all of the various departments we have visited and the inputs she has received.

“She has clearly absorbed the vast amounts of information she has been bombarded with over the past two weeks, displaying her new found knowledge and ability to recall information at various points during this experience.

“Brogan has shown dedication, especially towards the fitness aspect that we incorporated into her work experience, making an outstanding improvement in the course of only a week.  I have seen a huge boost in her confidence levels, it’s been a truly inspirational and rewarding experience for us both.

“I am immensely proud of Brogan and with her attitude and determination I’m sure she will make a fantastic addition to Police Scotland in the future.”

Apply now for Police Studies or Uniformed Services

NC Professional Cookery Level 5 – Nicole Allan

We are rounding up our theme of Hospitality and Tourism this week with an interview from Professional Cookery student Nicole Allan.

The hospitality industry in Scotland can be a very exciting career option. It is a fast paced, customer-orientated industry that offers a variety of career pathways and progressions.

Through school-college partnerships S4, S5 and S6 school pupils across Ayrshire can take a hospitality course while at school to enhance their employability and career pathways.

We interviewed some of the Professional Cookery students in December 2015 and caught up this month with Lecturer Graham Headland and Nicole Allan who took the 2015-2016 course.

Graham said “The pupils in this group were so hard-working, focused and would do anything to help. They mixed really well with all the lecturers and staff as well as with each other. We had lots of events this year which they all volunteered to help with, just to gain experience. For example, the students catered for the College’s annual business dinner. I didn’t tell them until about five minutes before it started that they would be preparing the canapés in front of the guests. They did a fantastic job under the pressure and cooked really well.” 1“This group was so focused that they took work home to complete so that they could be finished before the Easter break, giving them more time to study for their school exams.”

“Most of the students on the course got a job in hospitality when they left school including Adam and Ashleigh who we have already featured on our blog.

Nicole went on to get a job at the Dormy Clubhouse Restaurant at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire, an amazing position for a student to get straight out of school.”

Interview with Nicole

Why did you choose to do the Hospitality Higher Professional Cookery course?

I decided to do a school/college course because I thought it would teach me what being at college is actually like, so I knew what to expect if I decided to do a full time course there. I’ve always had a passion for cooking and thought it would give me a true understanding of what the hospitality industry is like to work in. I hadn’t had any experience in cooking before the course but I did have a part-time job as a waitress.

What did you like best in the course?

In the course I liked the cooking part the best because we got to try out different dishes. We also prepped and cooked for many functions such as cooking for our teachers and parents.

What was the most challenging aspect?

The most challenging aspect of the course was when we had to cook for customers because it put me under a lot of pressure to make sure everything was ready and served on time.

How does going to school and taking a college course work?

On a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon our timetable would be scheduled for College between 2pm-4pm. It was good because it showed us how different school was to college. At school you were helped a lot more than you were at college, there is also much more you get to do at college. Schools are limited to the things they are able to teach.

Nicole has now left school and secured a fantastic job as a Second Commis Chef at the Gleneagles Hotel. She has been working there for three months now.

How did you hear about the job at Gleneagles?

I heard about the job at Gleneagles from my sisters’ college lecturer who gave me details to email.

What was the application process like?

First of all, I had a chat with the Sous Chef about the hotel and then I put on my chef whites and joined them in the kitchen. I was given tasks to do in the kitchen throughout a four hour interview.

What is it like working in The Dormy Clubhouse at Gleneagles Hotel?

I absolutely love working at Gleneagles. The chefs that I work with in the Dormy Clubhouse make it much more fun as they’re all such nice people. They have all helped me a lot since I started and really helped me settle in. I am staying in staff accommodation, which is handy as it’s only a five minute walk to work and has everything you need like the staff gym and you also get your own bathroom in your room.

What has been the biggest challenge so far?

The biggest challenge so far has probably been moving away so far from my family at a young age as I now need to do my own laundry and shopping!

How do you feel about this achievement?

I am extremely proud to say that I work in a five-star resort at 17 years old. Everything that we have to do has to be to five-star quality and I am happy that my head chef thinks I am capable of this.

What are your future ambitions?

I plan on staying at Gleneagles for a long time (hopefully) and then after try other well known restaurants all over the world or maybe somewhere closer to home such as Trump Turnberry.

Apply now for courses in Hospitality and Tourism

10 reasons why you should study Hospitality

There is a wide variety of roles and if you have a good work ethic and a desire to provide excellent customer service then working in this industry could be for you. The opportunities are endless!

Here’s why:

1.   You get to be part of a major Scottish industry: the food and drink industry is a major contributor to Scotland’s economy with one in five people in manufacturing working in the sector. Scotland has a rich larder of food, producing quality, premium and healthy produce, and with many international brands, it can be an exciting industry to work in.

2.   You can make people’s day: Hospitality is about people. Whether you’re a concierge in a hotel, a kitchen porter working behind the scenes, a chef, or if you’re involved in the management of a hospitality business, every time you come into work you’re making someone’s day that little bit better.

3.   You’ll gain practical experience: Our Hospitality courses will provide you with practical experience in the College’s kitchens, training restaurant, internet café and licensed bar. Ayrshire College has superb links with industry and almost all students gain work experience while they are studying, giving them the chance to showcase their talents to employers.

4.   Work in a modern workplace: You could end up working as a chef in contemporary venues with modern menus.  Finish the Food Preparation and Cooking course, you’ll be guaranteed an interview with our placement providers, Buzzworks or SimpsInns, and you could be doing just that!

5.   Hospitality is creative: You are creating a product — be that food, drink, or an experience — and there’s always scope to dream up new ways of making it more enjoyable for customers. Successful restaurants and hotels are constantly offering new products, packages and experiences. It takes a lot of hard work to get those initiatives off the ground – and, a lot of creativity.

6.   It opens a door to the world: Every country in the world has a hospitality industry, and the skills you will learn at college are readily transferable, meaning that a career in hospitality can very easily be the key to discovering new countries, new culture and new people.

7.   No two days are the same: Having a job in the hospitality industry means that you get to have a wide range of opportunities.  You can get excellent customer service skills so you can give people a great experience when they stay in a hotel or bed and breakfast, eat in a cafe or restaurant, or visit a bar.

Work in kitchens creating delicious food as a baker, professional cook or chef. Or you could work directly with the public, taking orders and serving food and drinks.

Learn how to manage hotels and restaurants and use your ideas and professionalism to make them successful.

8.  Fast track your career: The hospitality industry provides opportunity for development and there is potential to move up the career ladder very quickly.  If you work hard, and show initiative, very soon, you could find yourself in a senior position managing people and projects.

9.  Meet Hospitality industry professionals: At Ayrshire College, you get the chance to meet professionals who have shaped the hospitality industry, like Bill Costley of Costley & Costley – one of the leading employers within the hospitality industry in Ayrshire.

10.  Work with people from different backgrounds: The hospitality industry employs a diverse set of employees and if you enjoy meeting new people and like-minded individuals who share the same passion and it gives you a great opportunity to make life-long friends.

The career opportunities are endless and include Chefs, Housekeepers, Bar Staff, Restaurant Staff, Receptionists and Managers.

View the videos of Ayrshire College Hospitality students to see where a career in hospitality could take you:

Emma-Rose Milligan – Commis Chef , The Cook School

Evan Samson – Hospitality Manager, Dumfries House

So what are you waiting for?  Apply now for hospitality courses at Ayrshire College.



Are you a graduate looking for a paid internship?

Ayrshire College has two fantastic opportunities for graphic design and marketing graduates who are looking to start their career and gain relevant experience. In this blog Ayrshire College’s Marketing and PR Manager, Shelagh McLachlan talks about the benefits of an internship, what we are looking for from applicants and some tips for applying for the job.

It’s not about what you know; it’s about who you know

One of the main benefits to internships is experiencing working as part of a team and developing professional relationships within the organisation and making external contacts. If you work hard and make a good impression you will leave with a great reference which will be invaluable when you are looking for your next job.

Stand out from the crowd

By taking part in an internship you can show that you are keen to gain employment in the industry and that you have the right skills, attitude and relevant experience to take on a job in your chosen profession.

 In the real world

An internship is an opportunity to apply your academic knowledge to the real world. You will develop employability skills by working on real projects for a real organisation and it will also give you the interpersonal skills that you need to work effectively with others — and confidence in your own abilities.

What’s not to like!

Graphic Designer Internship

We are looking for a graduate with great design skills who can provide examples of previous work. You will be able to think outside of the box and come up with ideas on how our brand could be brought alive in our new campus in Kilmarnock. You will be able communicate ideas visually and create designs that are visually stunning and professional.

This will be a perfect opportunity for a bright, ambitious individual who displays creative flair, an eye for detail and holds a strong passion for design.

You must have outstanding graphic design skills and be confident using Adobe Creative Suite, including Illustrator, Photoshop, InDesign and Acrobat.

Along with these creative skills you should be an excellent communicator, with an engaging personality and be well organised.

Event / Marketing Internship

We need someone who is energetic, enthusiastic, confident, quick to learn and not afraid to get stuck in. You should be a team player, detail-oriented, professional yet personable and friendly. A creative thinker with an appreciation for high quality and someone who is passionate about all things events!

You’ll have the organisational skills of a planner and the eye of a designer. You’ll appreciate the importance of taking care of every detail in every task you undertake. You’ll have a cool head under pressure – always coming up with solutions on your feet. You should be able to demonstrate experience of running events either at college/university or personal events you have organised.

Before you apply read this

In the past year, I have been involved in the recruitment of six new people to our marketing team. I have read hundreds of applications and what really struck me the most, is how many people are making the same basic mistakes which are letting them down when we score their application! So here are some hints and tips from a marketing employer’s perspective.

Do save all the details of the job to your computer before you apply – once the closing date goes, you won’t be able to access these online and you will need them to prepare for an interview.

Do read the application pack thoroughly and do what you are asked – don’t send us your CV – we ask everyone to complete an application form and if you don’t do that it shows you can’t follow simple instructions!

Don’t just tell us about your career history! Instead, address the specific job description in a structured way – giving us an example to demonstrate your skills and experience. We will be matching your skills and experience with all the essential criteria on the personnel specification and job description.

Do keep it concise. Keep sentences short. Make your points clearly.

Do check your application for spelling, grammar, spacing and typos – ask someone else to read it.  Most of the jobs in our team require attention to detail, so if we spot careless mistakes it’s not going to make a good first impression!

Don’t have gaps in your career / education – make sure your timeline is seamless.

Don’t forget to tell us the name of your degree/certificate/diploma – it is important we know the highest qualification you have achieved.

Do add in any relevant short courses you may have completed showing your commitment to learning new skills.

Do make yourself stand out from the other graduates. Everyone else who applies will have similar or better qualifications than you, everyone says they are a team player, a hard worker and reliable – so what makes you unique? – Why should we hire you? Why are you ideal for this job? Why do you deserve this opportunity?  Would you hire you based on your application form?

Hopefully you will make our shortlist! Time to prepare! Make a list of all the questions you think you could be asked. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes – if you were hiring an intern what skills and personal qualities would you be looking for? Make sure these are in your answers and you can give examples to demonstrate your skills.

Many of our questions will be competency based questions. In other words you need to give us evidence that you can do this job. For this you need some great examples to illustrate your answer. It might help to remember this acronym – STAR – this will give structure to your answers:

E.G.  Can you give us an example of design work you have done that has been really effective in meeting the client’s brief?

Situation – set the scene. (At college we were given a brief to design a poster)

Task – what was the task or problem you had to solve? (To get people to stop dropping litter)

Action – what did you do to help? (I came up with an effective design and slogan – give details – show your work)

Result – what was the result? (I got an “A” pass, my poster won a competition and the client used my work. The feedback was terrific and the litter problem improved.)

If you are the successful candidate, internships will give you knowledge you won’t learn anywhere else. Together with increased confidence, real work experience and a chance to really prove yourself, this really is an opportunity of a lifetime.

To find out more and apply go to:

Graphic Design Internship

Event / Marketing Internship

Closing date – 12 noon 1 August 2016


Devlin McCloskey, HNC Travel and Tourism

Devlin McCloskey from Kilmarnock, HNC Travel and Tourism tells us all about the merits of studying tourism at Ayrshire College.


What did you do before you came to college?

I always wanted to work in the tourism industry, so I started at Ayrshire College studying NC Travel and Tourism after I left school.  I’ve just completed HNC level and I am moving on to HND in September.

What have been the highlights of your tourism journey so far?

My main interest is the tour guiding.  It’s a lot of fun going to different tourist attractions.  As part of the course, I’ve been to loads of visitor attractions, including Edinburgh Castle, the Scottish Parliament, the Scotch Whisky Experience, Loch Lomond as well as places in Ayrshire.

We even got to go behind the scenes at Glasgow Airport, sitting behind the check-in desks, with the chance to go air-side onto the runway.

It’s been a great opportunity to get out and about to different places, and become a tourist myself.  I definitely want to stay in Scotland as it’s a fascinating place, and I’m really keen to share it with visitors and make sure they come back time and time again.

The courses I’ve done so far are really varied.  We get industry experts coming in to the college from time to time, which is good, as it brings the jobs to life for us.  Over the last year we’ve had visits from British Airways cabin crew and the owner of a travel agent explaining how that side of the industry works.  And of course, you make great friends which makes it all the more enjoyable.

I enjoyed the course as a whole but a personal highlight was getting an article published in the student magazine – The Student Voice, ahead of The Open Championship at Troon this summer.  I wanted to promote the golfing experience that can be enjoyed in Ayrshire, and what makes Scotland, and particularly Ayrshire, an attractive location to play golf.  I felt like I was doing my bit for Scottish tourism!

What advice would you give to others interested in a career in tourism?

I would say, if you want to come and study tourism, there are so many opportunities.  Things like volunteering at events like The Open are all great for your CV.

The courses are really good, lots of fun and interesting, and I’ve learnt so much about other countries, and Scotland itself.  It’s a good starting point, getting to know all about your own country.

Apply now for Passport to Tourism (Level 5), NC Tourism for Scotland, NC Activity Tourism, HNC Travel and Tourism or HND Travel and Tourism.

Hospitality & Tourism: Susan Colquhoun, Visitor Services Manager, Robert Burns Birthplace Museum

Today we have a guest blog by Susan Colquhoun who is the visitor services manager at the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Alloway, Ayrshire.  She gives us an insight into what she does, why she works in tourism and some great advice for our students and anyone considering a career in tourism.

Susan Colquhoun

How did you get into Tourism?

I’ve worked in a number of tourism roles, from being the operations manager for the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, working for the British Motor Museum, South Warwickshire Tourism to working in Canada.

I made the move to Ayrshire in 2015.  I love it, it’s interesting because it’s so varied.  You’re dealing with National Trust members who are very committed to tourism in the area, speaking to people who know nothing about Burns, to welcoming American bus tours.

How long has the museum been here?                                                    

The museum officially opened in January 2011.

What is the main purpose of your job as visitor services manager?

My main focus is on managing the visitor experience in its entirety at the museum.  It changes daily, but I look after the marketing and promotion of the property, down to managing the details of every visit to Alloway itself.  I’m here to coordinate and champion the experience of every visitor and help to make the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum a must-see visitor attraction, acclaimed internationally and enjoyed locally.

Describe your typical tourist visitor to the museum?

That’s just it, there isn’t a typical visitor as such.  We have lots of local people from Ayr, from South Ayrshire and more widely from the Glasgow area too.

In the summer it becomes more international with 15% of visitors coming from overseas. As the museum is owned by the National Trust for Scotland we get a lot of local members who support the centre and use their membership to visit. We have very strong links with the local Rotary Club and we get support from them.

There’s obviously a huge amount of people who come because they have an interest in Burns, that’s really what brings them in – from Burns clubs to Burns specialists or absolute enthusiasts.  We’re also lucky that we are situated in a beautiful area that people like to visit.

What would you say to encourage people to consider a career in tourism? 

I think get as much experience of different types of tourism and attractions.  Ayrshire is a bit of a hidden gem, it’s got a wealth of attractions.  There’s so much happening at the moment, the re-opening of Trump Turnberry, The Open golf tournament, the Racecourse, Culzean and Brodick Castles; there’s all sorts of different attractions on our doorstep.

For me, it’s the interaction that I get at the museum.  Every day I learn something new. I learn from the people I meet and I enjoy sharing what I know with visitors.  And that’s a really lovely thing to do.  Personally, throughout my career in tourism, you can’t beat the feeling of learning all the time, and being part of preserving something that can be shared.

Understanding how visitors tick and what they are looking for is important, and one of the ways to do that is to become a tourist yourself, travel as much as you can, if you become a tourist, you become an expert, which you can then apply to your own career in tourism.

It’s not a 9-5 job and it’s not a Monday to Friday job, but it’s really rewarding.  Get as much experience as possible, know what you’re going into, and work hard!

College is a great place to start a highly successful and rewarding career in Travel and Tourism.

Apply now for courses starting in August.

Hospitality and Tourism

Hospitality and tourism is a growing industry, especially in Scotland.  The country’s popularity as a holiday destination isn’t just down to its historic architecture, breathtaking countryside and world-famous cuisine.  Those who work in the industry have a vital part to play, making sure that visitors have a fantastic experience.

This doesn’t apply only to Scotland, international tourism is on the up too, so the whole world is your oyster!

We spoke to Katie Ralston, Developing the Young Workforce Marketing Officer, Ayrshire College.  Katie worked in tourism for several years, first as a Tour Guide and then as the Manager at Dundonald Castle and Visitor Centre until fairly recently, when she joined the marketing team at Ayrshire College.

Katie dundonal Castle

She spoke to us about her Tourism journey.

What did you do before you worked in tourism?

I studied Business and Marketing at University for 4 years. I started working in tourism during my degree. I also worked in Sales and Marketing before I became the Manager at the Dundonald Castle and Visitors Centre.

What is your background in tourism?

When I studied abroad for a year in Iowa USA during my third year of University, I had a job in the Study Abroad Office there. I had to recruit students to study abroad at the university I went to in Scotland. It was a great job as the students were mostly interested in everything you could do in Scotland and where you could travel to, so really I was more of a travel advisor.

When I returned from America I wanted to get some experience in marketing before I left university and volunteered to help at Dundonald Castle and Visitors Centre with marketing strategy and social media. I was then offered a job as a Tour Guide which I did during the summer and weekends during my last year at University. I was then asked if I wanted to come back to the Castle to be a Manager, which I was excited to do.

Had you always wanted to work in tourism?

After being a Tour Guide I knew that I would be working either in the Education sector or the Tourism Industry. They both sort of go hand in hand. Giving tours is kind of like giving a lecture. You have an audience of people that want to hear about history, economy and politics. It’s a very satisfying feeling being able to talk about your country and have tourists value every piece of information you can give them. In a way their experience at the Castle could contribute to their view of Scotland and how much they enjoyed their holiday here.

Describe the highlights of your job in tourism.

My favourite part of a day there was giving tours in the castle. I really enjoyed taking tourists around the castle and telling the story of it. It was kind of like bringing this 600 year old building back to life. You could tell when the tourists started to imagine what it would have been like. There was something about seeing that spark of interest that was so rewarding.

When I was a Manager at the Castle my role expanded quite a lot, I was then responsible for purchasing, merchandising, finance, marketing, staff training, staff and volunteer management and the school educational visits. It also meant organising and running events such as the annual Halloween party and weddings.

I learnt a huge variety of skills from working there.

What were the challenges, and how did you overcome them?

The biggest challenge as a Tour Guide is probably communication and confidence. I could be giving a tour to one person or on occasion 30 plus people. Dundonald Castle doesn’t have the space to walk 30 plus people around the castle while giving a tour, so I would have to be very innovative in where I could give the tour and actually keeping their attention since they are staying in the one room. Another challenge was that not every tourist could speak English, especially in the summer when there is a higher concentration of tourists from Europe and Asia. Sometimes it was difficult communicating simple things like asking how many tickets they need or making sure they know that the pit in the prison of the Castle there are Cave Spiders in it. They are huge and hang at head height. As it is a straight ladder with a small entrance to get in, they can’t really run away when they are scared.

As a Manager, I had even more challenges. I was responsible for the running of the visitors’ centre which required a lot of organisation and quite often patience. I learnt so many new skills in finance, negotiating purchases and communicating with Historic Scotland and South Ayrshire Council. There was a lot of restrictions in the Castle and I had to make sure we were always following the terms of both organisations.

What advice would you give to others interested in a career in tourism?

Tourism is one of the most rewarding industries to work in. There are also a lot more jobs in tourism than people know of. Just think of all the tourist attractions, B&B’s, Hotels, Castles and Museums there are in Scotland and that just scratches the surface.

If you are interested in the industry then a background in tourism is very useful. I didn’t have any qualifications specifically in tourism but I did utilise my degree in marketing. I did consider taking a course in tourism when I worked at the castle, mostly because it just gives you that extra bit of understanding of the industry. All qualifications can be utilised in Tourism.

What has been the main benefits of working in tourism?

Had I not worked as a Tour Guide I can honestly say I would not be half as confident as I am now. Talking in front of strangers everyday really boosts your communications skills and enables you to connect quickly with anyone. You learn to read people and alter how you communicate.

The skills I learnt from working there are definitely the reason I have a job at Ayrshire College now. Working at Dundonald Castle and Visitors Centre taught me so much about culture, tolerance, foreign politics, and the 21st century in general. Nothing gives you more of an insight into the people of the world than talking to them every day.

College is a great place to start a highly successful and rewarding career in Travel and Tourism.

Apply now for courses starting in August.

10 reasons why you should study Tourism

If you love travel and you are committed to ensuring tourists have a memorable experience why not make a career of it?

People who work in travel and tourism have a passion for travel, and a commitment to helping tourists make the most of their holiday whether at home or abroad.

Here’s why.

1. Endless opportunities: tourism is a worldwide industry, and the skills you learn at college are easily transferable.  A career in tourism can literally open up the world for you, especially if you want to combine work with travel.

2. It’s creative: as well as being a people-oriented industry, a great variety of tourism jobs require you to think on your feet and be creative. People who work in tourism have a crucial part to play, making sure that visitors have a fantastic experience and then go back home to spread the word.

3. Scope: there’s such a wide range of jobs in the industry so there is never any need for you to get stuck in one niche. Tourism courses can give you access to a career as a Tourist Guide, Tour Manager, Adventure Sports Activity Manager, Travel Consultant, Event and Conference Manager, Air Cabin Crew or Airport Ground staff, Holiday Rep – the list is endless!

4. Learn why ‘the customer is always right’: jobs in tourism are all about providing friendly, efficient and attentive customer service. You’ll need good communication skills, the ability to work well with people and enjoy a challenge.

5. It’s not 9-5: it involves a great deal of variety, not only in terms of the hours you can work but also in the kind of work you do.

6. You will be out and about: on our fun and energetic Activity Tourism course you’ll be climbing, sailing, going on course trips and more; exploring the wide range of activity tourism that Scotland has to offer. Growth areas include golf, business tourism, sailing, mountain biking, cruises and adventure tourism.

7. You can be a source of travel advice: the Passport to Tourism course takes you on a journey from seeing how an airport works to what happens when tourists get to their destination, from event organisation to accommodation holiday packages, so that you can help people to make the most of their free time in new places.

8. It’s a dynamic industry: travel and tourism is one of the most dynamic and competitive industries in the world. To stay ahead of the competition, new ideas and skills are constantly being developed across every area of the industry, from innovative mobile applications to creative hotel room design and imaginative tour itineraries.

9. It’s a growing industry: Scotland’s travel and tourism industry is growing! Nowadays, Scotland welcomes tourists from around the globe and tourism is a vital component of Scotland’s economy worth around £11 billion annually according to recent reports.

10. It’s a chance to show off Scotland! Providing opportunities to showcase Scotland on the world stage, showcasing Scottish culture, food, natural environment, activities, cities, traditions and heritage are all vital ingredients to the success of the tourism industry.

College is a great place to start a highly successful and rewarding career in Travel and Tourism.

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Top stories of 2015-16

As we edge closer to welcoming our students back for the 2016-17 academic term, we thought it would be a good idea to round-up the best stories from the College over the past year.

Many successes and major events occurred at Ayrshire College in 2015-16, so enjoy our look back at 10 of our favourites over the past 10 months.

Ayrshire pupils to send experiment into space – June 2016

Mission discovery

Perhaps the most enjoyable event we have put on for our students – and pupils from secondary schools across Ayrshire – was ISSET’s Mission Discovery programme.

The week-long space school took place in Ayrshire for the very first time this June, and saw us welcome former NASA astronaut Michael Foale CBE to the Ayr campus along with the rest of the ISSET team comprising of: NASA’s Assistant Chief of EVA, Robotics & Crew Systems, Sarah Murray, Julie Keeble, Lecturer of Pharmacology at King’s College London, and ISSET Director Chris Barber.

Across the week, the participants worked in teams to develop space experiment ideas – with the winning experiment making its way to the International Space Station sometime in 2017, where it will be carried out by real astronauts.

The winning experiment looks at the speed of slime mould on different materials in space, so keep your eyes out for details on when it will be tested!

During Mission Discovery Week, we also held a public ‘Meet the Astronaut’ night, launched our all-female networking group ‘Ayrshire Connects’, and welcomed local and national employers to a ‘Mission Discovery Legacy Dinner’ to discuss how they could support the Mission Discovery programme going forward.

First Minister shows that #ThisAyrshireGirlCan – March 2016

First minister

Our #ThisAyrshireGirlCan campaign, created by the Ayrshire College Student Association, celebrated its first anniversary on International Women’s Day by welcoming First Minister Nicola Sturgeon MSP to the Kilwinning campus.

#ThisAyrshireGirlCan encourages more women to think about choosing a career path that’s currently dominated by males.

School pupils and college students were invited to hear first-hand how the First Minister – who grew up in Irvine – got to the top of Scottish politics.

They were also shown a film highlighting success stories from female Ayrshire College students currently working as engineers. We hope this has inspired them to follow their dreams!

Students mark Scotland’s year of food and drink – September 2015

Dumfries house

You are going to take part in a cooking challenge. At Dumfries House. In front of His Royal Highness The Duke of Rothesay. You have just one hour.

This was the challenge put to our hospitality students last year to celebrate 2015 being Scotland’s year of food and drink.

Supported by Taste Ayrshire, the students received a masterclass session from Trump Turnberry’s Ryan Murphy before undergoing the timed challenge.

As I sampled one or two dishes on the day, I can safely say that the students excelled in the competition.

Ayrshire College announce opening date for new campus – May 2016

New campus

The progress of our new Kilmarnock campus on Hill Street has been one of the most anticipated, developing stories of the year.

With over a 1,000 views on our Kilmarnock campus Flickr album, the new building certainly seems to have captivated staff, students and the wider Ayrshire public.

We can’t wait until we get the keys to our new home. Thankfully there’s not long to go now though, as the opening date was recently revealed: 24 October 2016!

There was a Big Bang @ Ayrshire College! – June 2016

Big bang

Secondary school pupils arrived at Ayrshire College last month excited about the prospect of racing their hand-carved model rocket cars in the Bloodhound Project BBC micro:bit competition at the Big Bang @ Ayrshire College event.

Everyone enjoyed themselves as they competed against each other’s rockets, but there could only be one winner. Step forward Queen Margaret Academy, as their pupils’ rocket reached an incredible 48mph.

While their cars were not racing outside our Riverside Building in Ayr, pupils were keen to visit the stalls set up by the British Army, Royal Aeronautical Society, Royal Air Force and United Technologies inside. We also invited the pupils to hear about the range of STEM courses that they offer, including the Foundation Apprenticeship programme.

Ayrshire College is judges’ favourite at Herald Society Awards – November 2015

Top award

We were shocked and honoured to pick up a special ‘Judges Award’ at the Herald Society Awards last year.

The final award of the night was presented to the College specifically because we had entered so many strong entries this year, and deserved recognition for doing “a great job across the board”.

Ayrshire College students Pitch Perfect ideas – from February 2016

nil by mouth

We were delighted to hear that Nil By Mouth wanted to work with our students for their ‘Pitch Perfect’ marketing campaign.

The anti-sectarian charity invited our 24/7 Plus students to create an awareness campaign to help tackle the problem of sectarianism in our society.

The three groups involved, from Ayr, Kilmarnock and Kilwinning, each came up with fantastic ideas that would really help Nil By Mouth get their message across.

In the end the Ayr group won with an educational smartphone app that explained what sectarianism is and the law surrounding it, in a bid to raise awareness of the issue amongst fellow students.

Nil By Mouth are now working with the students to make the idea become a reality and we’re looking forward to seeing the finished result!

X Factor star shines at Ayrshire College – November 2015

x factor

When Routes to Business & IT student Euan Bryce invited his favourite X Factor competitor to perform at Ayrshire College, he probably thought it was a bit of a long-shot.

But, if you don’t ask you don’t get, and so we were thrilled to learn that Sam Callaghan accepted the invitation and performed for half an hour at our Ayr campus.

There wasn’t a spare seat in the studio as students packed in to see Sam, who appeared on the tenth series of The X Factor in 2013, perform four songs.

College students to Get Kilmarnock Active – from April 2016


Our sport students have been on a mission to Get Kilmarnock Active this year, with impressive results.

Over 3,000 shoppers within the town centre engaged with the campaign, which was designed to get residents thinking about how they travel, how they eat and how they exercise.

New Scottish Conservative MSP Kilmarnock and Irvine Valley, Brian Whittle, even popped down to the students’ ‘Get Kilmarnock Active’ stall on the final day to offer his support.

We are optimistic that the advice the students offered has been taken on board and we will see a fitter Kilmarnock in 2016/17!

Graduations – October / November 2015


We couldn’t look back on our favourite stories of the year without mentioning our graduation ceremonies.

Our three graduation ceremonies at Ayr Town Hall, Kilwinning Abbey Church and the Grand Hall in Kilmarnock are a firm favourite event for staff, students and their families, and 2015/16’s were no different.

Graduation allows us to celebrate the achievements of all of our students, but also gives us the chance to recognise those who have gone above and beyond – our Student of the Year winners.

If you still haven’t seen the photographs from last year, head over to our Flickr page now!


Wait, here’s a quick top ten of our best stories showcasing individual students’ achievements…

Stuart Queen: Ayrshire College announces the Ayr Guildry Apprentice of the Year 2016

Emma-Rose Milligan: Student chef earns Albert Roux OBE opportunity

Jaime Cross: Former Ayrshire College student nominated for Scottish BAFTA

Natasha Kerr: Natasha joins illustrious list of successful sports stars at College

Calvin Nilsen-Barnes: First Minister nominates student at Young Scot awards

Ainsley-Ann Smith: Student earns medal at European Championships

Daniel Maclean: Student works at Celtic Connections

Laura Anderson: Student’s photographs shortlisted for national competition

Biatrice Gabell: Student wins silver at Commonwealth Youth Games

Emma Davidson: Student make-up artist takes part in national competition