Respect Mary

RESPECT Week 2016 has been launched this week with information stands at Kilmarnock on Monday, Ayr on Tuesday and at the Kilwinning Campus today.

Respect, in all its forms, may be something that you don’t often think about. Yet it is a crucial quality to develop in order to have effective relationships at college.

Our Respect campaign highlights the need to ‘Respect Yourself’, ‘Respect the Community’, ‘Respect the Environment’ and ‘Respect People’.

Each strand is vital to understand for their own unique reasons.

This second post of a three-part blog series will hopefully allow you to reflect on why its important to ‘Respect People’, as members of our Estates team walk you through their daily lives working at our Ayr, Irvine and Kilmarnock Campuses.

Following on from our ‘Respect Billy’ message, we have Mary McAllister, a Cleaning Supervisor at Kilmarnock.


Mary is approaching the 20 year milestone of her Ayrshire College career. A career which started with a part-time cleaning job at the previous Kilmarnock Campus.

However, if 62 year old Mary thought she had seen it all in her time at the College, then the move to the new Kilmarnock Campus on Hill Street this October has quickly dispelled that notion.

Mary said “We’re still finding our feet in this new building. It’s so big, we’re still getting used to it. I felt the Holehouse Campus was big, but this is massive. It’s a lot more walking so it can be exhausting. I feel like when I arrive in the morning, by the time I’ve cleaned the whole building it’s a bit of a mess again! But we’re getting there – it’ll get easier as time goes on.

“We’ve got a new cleaning system which involves a lot of new machinery. We’re trying to move away from mops – but I think the old fashioned way is the best!”

There are 20 cleaners in total at the Kilmarnock Campus, working a number of different shift patterns. Mary’s always on the 8am-4pm shift, and so spends a lot of her time working around students.

“One of the cleaners will have been here for 30 years come March. Another’s at 26. I’m at 20 now, and then there’s newer ones at the five year mark. It goes to show you that it’s a good place to work. When the College merged there were a lot of new faces to get used to.

“I like them all, I don’t know what they’ll say about me mind you!

“I love my job. People say to me – “you love cleaning?”, and I really do. It’s been 20 years and I still like to walk out at night thinking ‘that building’s nice and clean’. I do take pride in that.

“I love all the different people you meet. The majority of students here are very nice to us. Some can be a little disrespectful in terms of littering and making a mess of the toilets. And where they sit to eat, they don’t always clean up after themselves. It would be great if they could use the bins provided.

“One of the cleaners the other night went to the showers at the gym and there was juice all up the walls. This is a new building, why would you disrespect it like this? It’s a lovely college but it’s got to be looked after.

“Again, most of the College staff are very good. However I do think some staff could maybe do a wee bit more to tell their students to clean up after themselves. Staff also have responsibilities to keep their kitchens tidy, so if they could clean up that would be great.”

By and large though, Mary feels the respect of others.

“I feel I’m respected here. The management are fair and listen to us, Donna Vallance (Vice President – College Estate and New Campus Development) got more cleaners in for us as we were preparing to move to the bigger campus. This level of support has been brilliant – it makes you feel valued and appreciated.”

Please choose to Respect Mary and others like her by disposing of your rubbish and cigarettes appropriately.


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