10 reasons why you should study Construction

 1. The job market is strong. This is a fantastic time to join the construction industry as there is currently a shortage of skilled workers. There is expected to be more vacancies over the coming years, too.

2. New houses are in demand. There is also an increased demand for new build homes. The number of new houses built in recent years has risen dramatically and that won’t slow down any time soon.

3. You can earn as you learn. Over 800 apprentices were trained at Ayrshire College in 2014/15, the latest figures available. Why not become one of them and combine your work with studying?

4. You can earn decent money. The salaries on offer in the construction industry are quite lucrative – particularly once you finish an apprentice, and especially if you…

5. Work your way up. The construction industry provides ample opportunity to progress up the career ladder, if you choose to.

6. Be your own boss. Many construction workers have decided instead to set up their own business. If you’re confident enough to take on the challenge and manage your own workload, then the potential rewards are endless.

7. It’s a fulfilling career. Imagine working on the new £53m Ayrshire College campus in Kilmarnock. Or the new Mangum Leisure Centre opening in Irvine. These buildings will be around for decades, perhaps hundreds of years, and you’ll be able to say ‘I helped create that’.

8. It’s a hands-on job. Speak to someone in construction about their job and they’ll often say they just could not work in an office. This industry is perfect with someone who likes to be on the move and get their hands dirty.

9. You won’t get bored. Working in construction involves working indoors, outdoors, with your hands, with tools, on the ground, high up…I think you get the idea: there is so much variety within the construction industry.

10. You’re able to travel. You won’t be confined to just one place in this job. The skills you will pick up allow you to travel absolutely anywhere in the world.

Find out everything you need to know about our Bricklaying courses by watching this short film, featuring our lecturer Billy Hutchison. Ready to apply? Click here to view our Construction courses on offer for 2016/17.

Jen is our champion!

Jen WilsonHNC Mechanical Engineering student Jennifer Wilson was recently appointed as the Interconnect Scotland Student Champion for Ayrshire College.

Interconnect Scotland is a network for women studying science, engineering, technology (STEM) and the built environment across Scotland. It encourages students to set up their own networks at their college or university.

Interconnect Student Champions are ambassadors for STEM within their college or university, and promote Interconnect activities locally.

Ayrshire Connects is Ayrshire College’s network for female STEM students and it was launched by senior NASA manager Sarah Murray on 13 June 2016. Ayrshire Connects will connect female students studying STEM, construction and trades courses across the College with each other, with students in other colleges and universities, and with inspiring women in industry.

In this article, Jen talks about what motivated her to study engineering and her new role as Interconnect Student Champion.

My interest stems from school

My interest in STEM subjects started when I was a pupil at James Hamilton Academy in Kilmarnock. I leaned towards technical subjects like Graphic Communications and Woodwork; as well as creative subjects like Photography and Art and Design. I am naturally quite a curious person and enjoy finding out how things work. Design and technology are such a huge part of everyday life now from the technology we carry, to how we travel and create entertainment. Studying these subjects made school a very enjoyable experience for me.

I had a fantastic teacher at school who encouraged me to do my best and I left school with three Highers and two Advanced Highers. When it came to choosing a career path, I looked at teaching as the route I wanted to pursue. I started with a Classroom Assistant course and progressed onto HNC Childcare. However, I soon figured out that this wasn’t the course for me and decided to change direction.

After that, I didn’t know what to do. I became the carer for my grandmother for two years, followed by a period of working for William Hill. After a bad day at work I knew this wasn’t what I wanted to do and decided to find a new career path.

Accessing a STEM career

By this point I felt I had been out of education for quite a long time and wanted to take my time getting back into it. I didn’t have the same confidence in myself about studying and needed time to get back into the student mind set and lifestyle. I thought about my interests in technical subjects and decided to take an Access to STEM course at Ayrshire College.

I knew what to expect at college because I had already been in that environment. However, this time was so much better as I felt I was pursuing the right option for me. I had a fantastic class which made going to college a great experience. My class was evenly split with four boys and four girls who were all as interested in the subjects as me, which meant the atmosphere was great in the classroom.

On the Access to STEM course I studied Science, Maths, Chemistry, Physics and English most of which I hadn’t really studied much of before. I would have really enjoyed some work experience and guest speakers during the course, which is now something I am very passionate about making sure others experience. Indeed it is one of the reasons I decided to apply to be the Interconnect Student Champion.

The new me!

So far from my time at College I have increased my confidence, made new friends, narrowed down what I want to do as a career path and eased myself into the student lifestyle. This year I will be studying HNC Mechanical Engineering at and have deferred entry for next year for the University of Glasgow to study Product Design.

We are the champions

I applied to become an Interconnect Scotland Student Champion after attending the launch night of Ayrshire Connects, the College’s new network for female STEM and construction students. After completing an application form, I was invited to an interview over Skype. I was asked to discuss all the things I would do to get the word out about joining Ayrshire Connects and what kind of events I would like to organise to raise awareness of STEM careers for women.

I am very excited to start my new role as Interconnect Student Champion along with my studies this year. I have a huge amount of passion for STEM and want to make a difference for women in STEM. There is, even in 2016, a very low percentage of women who take STEM subjects at school, college and university or work in STEM industries. It can feel very isolating studying technical subjects at school or college with mostly male students. It’s not necessarily the number of men and women in your class, it’s the knowledge that the industry as a whole is male dominated. I want to be able to bring women together to reduce the feeling of being alone in a course or workplace. I want to get them talking about what we can do to make things better for working in these industries and how we can go about getting more women into STEM.

My first gig

I am looking forward to attending the Scottish Funding Council Gender Action Plan conference in August, where I will have the opportunity to hear from the Scottish Government’s Minister for Employability and Training, James Hepburn MSP. I am sharing the platform with our Vice Principal Jackie Galbraith who is speaking about the College’s approach to taking gender out of the equation. It will also be great to hear from City of Glasgow College about their women-only HNC Mechanical Engineering course they delivered last year to find out how effective this has been.

I’m also really excited about promoting Ayrshire Connects to new students at the Freshers’ Fairs on the College’s three campuses in September.

An exciting future

My future plans are expanding everyday now that I feel I have found what I’m good at and what I want to do with my life. One of the maths lecturers at Ayrshire College, Alan Carpenter, really inspired me to go out and get what I want in my career. He took the time to listen to me and get to know my learning style. It’s amazing how easy and fun maths can be when you get to play games and have the maths related to everyday life. I think in the future I would like to be an Engineering Lecturer and inspire others as much as Alan has done for his students. I want to make a difference!

Want to know more?

Interconnect Scotland: http://www.equatescotland.org.uk/interconnect/interconnect-student-network

Ayrshire Connects: http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/students/ayrshire-connects/

Ayrshire Connects.jpg

10 Reasons to study for a career in care

Because you are a people person! 

You like to talk, listen and most of all help people. A career in health and social care is all about helping and interacting with people to make their day better.

You want to make a difference

Do you want to make a positive difference to other people’s lives? A job in the care sector will give you a great sense of achievement.

You are compassionate

It’s all about helping people and making them feel better. Careers in healthcare are about helping people who are having problems with their physical or mental health. Careers in social care are concerned with helping vulnerable people in the community and providing them with support, so that they can benefit from a much more improved way of life. We will help you understand the different job roles and identify what career path is right for you.

You want to give something back

Perhaps you have experienced care in your life and it has helped shape your future. Often many people in this situation want to work in the care industry so that they can help other people who need care. You would bring a real understanding and empathy to the role and be able to relate well to the service user. We can show you how your personal qualities and skills can transfer into the workplace.

Develop your confidence

In order to thrive in these careers, you need to have the ability to build relationships with patients and service users. It is essential that people trust you, so if you are friendly, approachable, patient, and are good at starting up conversations and establishing rapport then a career in care might be for you. You also need the ability to relate to people from a variety of backgrounds. A sense of humour is essential! Care courses are all about developing your interpersonal skills so that you feel more confident dealing with people in the workplace.

Learn how to be resilient

Health and social care careers are some of the most rewarding you can pursue but can also be the most challenging emotionally. You certainly need to be genuinely compassionate and caring but you need to be thick-skinned and tolerant.

Get relevant work experience

Most of our courses involve a work placement in hospitals, care homes or in the community. This means you have an opportunity to have hands on experience in a job and find out if it is right for you. You will make contacts and if you work hard and make a good impression you will be able to have a reference to support future job applications.

Become a great team player

It’s all about the team! In our collaborative learning environment, you will learn to work as a team, how to get the best out of your team and discover what your role is in a team is.

There are lots of job opportunities

The NHS is the largest employer in Europe (over one million employees); however, many private institutions also employ lots of people in the healthcare arena. A large amount of these people are employed as doctors, dentists, paramedics, nurses and midwives, but plenty more are engaged within managerial, I.T. and administration work. These are the most recognisable jobs but there are lots of jobs you may be unaware of.

Start here Go anywhere

There is a huge shortage of skilled and qualified people in the care industry. In Ayrshire there are currently 340 vacancies in health and social care.

By starting your career at Ayrshire College you can build up qualifications, skills and experience to help prepare you for a wide variety of jobs in the care sector or further study at university.

Useful career links



Case study




Careers in Care

As we continue our countdown to the new Kilmarnock Campus, this month we turn the curriculum spotlight on the Early Years and Health and Social Care department.

This year we will have 478 care students studying on the Kilmarnock Campus.

We caught up with Julie Maxwell, Director of Learning and Skills for Care, Education, Sports and Fitness,  to find out what the students can expect when they move into the campus on 24 October.



We are training people for jobs in the Early Years and Health and Social Care sectors. In this blog I am going to discuss some of the opportunities in these growth sectors for people with the right skills, knowledge and experience.


Early Years: Huge Growth Area

There is currently a demand for highly skilled and qualified workers in Early Years. This is because of the proposed change to increase the amount of free hours of childcare available to all 3-4 year olds and ‘vulnerable’ 2 year olds from 15 to 30 per week by 2020. Employers will need to recruit staff to meet the demand for this increase in childcare. Employers are looking for high quality staff and it’s our job to prepare people for these job opportunities. We have a great reputation for helping employers recruit skilled staff capable of delivering high quality childcare.

The new campus will provide an inspirational learning environment. We have a simulated nursery where students can enhance their practical skills. We have the latest early years resources so that our students are able to learn how to create a safe, positive and fun learning environment for children 0-5 years.

We have developed strong links with partners in Ayrshire who provide work placements for our students in local authority and private nurseries so that our students learn to work with children in a real learning environment.

We have also got great links with UWS for our HND Childhood Practice students to progress into 3rd year of the BA Childhood Studies course. Students will also use this route to prepare for a career in Primary teaching.


Health and Social Care

The Scottish Government 2020 Vision is that by 2020,  everyone is able to live longer healthier lives at home, or in a homely setting and, that we will have a healthcare system where:

  • We have integrated health and social care
  • There is a focus on prevention, anticipation and supported self-management
  • Hospital treatment is required, and cannot be provided in a community setting, day care treatment will be the norm
  • Whatever the setting, care will be provided to the highest standards of quality and safety, with the person at the centre of all decisions
  • There will be a focus on ensuring that people get back into their home or community environment as soon as appropriate, with minimal risk of re-admission

(Source:  http://www.gov.scot/Topics/Health/Policy/2020-Vision)

What does this mean for our students studying health and social care? It has opened up more job opportunities which are related to improving the health of the nation. In some cases,  there is an increase in the entry qualifications to certain job roles such as residential care workers.

There are lots of occupations which are predicting shortages of health and social care staff including healthcare support assistants, nurses, midwives, ambulance technicians, paramedics and care at home support workers. We are supporting employers by developing a range of courses which will help them fill the skills gaps.

Our courses have guaranteed placements in hospitals and care homes which means our students get relevant experience and can find out what to expect in that job before they apply for a full-time post.

The HNC Care and Administration (Clinical route) offers a wide range of clinical placements in areas such as midwifery, paediatrics, adult and mental health nursing. Successful students can apply for nursing degree programmes at a wide range of universities including UWS and Glasgow Caledonian University.

One area of nursing which is seeing a huge growth is learning disability nursing. This is a specialist nurse who helps to improve the well-being and social inclusion of people with a learning disability. They also offer help and support to their family and carers.

More information here: https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/nursing/learning-disability-nurse

In the new campus at Kilmarnock we have created a simulated hospital ward which has 4 beds, a mobile hoist and state of the art mannequins. It is here our students will learn practical clinical skills and moving and handling techniques in preparation for placement on a hospital ward.

We also have a health pod in the Health and Wellbeing Centre. Here our students will be able to monitor blood pressure, weight, height, BMI and from a computer generated report, work out training and nutrition advice. We will be working closely with our sports and fitness students to provide this service to staff, students and the wider public.


Staff are our greatest resource

As well as the new learning environment, our students will experience quality teaching and learning from our team of highly experienced lecturers. Our staff are our greatest resource and we continually invest in training and development so that we have the latest knowledge and good practice to share with our students. We also arrange guest speakers who are specialists in their area.

Career fairs

In the new campus we have a fantastic atrium space where we will be holding a series of careers fairs bringing together all the organisations who have job opportunities for our students.

Read our top ten reasons why you should study for a career in care.