Start your Career in Events

Ayrshire College expanded its marketing team with the creation of a Marketing and Events internship position in October last year.

Events are integral to the success of the marketing team at Ayrshire College, and 23- year-old intern Ada Konkolska is now more than halfway through the six-month internship.



Ada talks about her events journey at the College.

“So much has happened since I started as the Marketing and Events Intern.

At the beginning of the internship, my role was more about supporting the events team on the events that happen on a regular basis, such as the annual graduations.

As I got more involved with my role, my confidence grew and I have been given more responsibilities, so that’s been really good.  I’m meeting new people, dealing with clients, suppliers and negotiating prices, to working with other college staff, all on a daily basis.

While I was at university, I would run my own events and I am now finding that I am meeting quite a few of the contacts I made in the industry already.  I’ve learnt that customer service is so important as you never know when you’ll meet contacts in your career again.  It’s important to make a good impression.

With events, you can really tap into your creative side and bring your ideas to the table.   This can include everything from the catering to how many invites have been sent, to meeting delegates on the day.  I enjoy being able to bring my creativity to the job and help to make things happen at an event. It can make the difference between a good event and a fantastic one!

I am learning something new every day working at the College, because every event is a little bit different, from graduations where there’s more of a structure, to the newer events being held in the event spaces in the new Kilmarnock Campus.  It’s great to be a part of the Events team as there’s a real sense that we’re all in it together.

The most interesting event I’ve worked on so far is the #ThisAyrshireGirlCan Technology Workout which is coming up in June.  I’ve really enjoyed being involved right from the start, and even better that I will get to see it right through to the end.

Working at the College is my first experience of working in a large organisation.  I enjoy the fact that the marketing team work with so many different teams within the College in order to make the events happen.   It’s been a good experience working in the varied roles within the events team, such as working on student events, to corporate events engaging with businesses.

For me, being an intern has definitely boosted my career and enhanced my CV.  It’s been good to work in a completely new environment and to learn more about the education industry.  With the experience I have gained here, I can take that knowledge and apply to any career within the events industry.

For someone who is thinking of starting a career in events, I would say get as much experience as you can. Volunteer to work at different kinds of events – there are loads of opportunities out there, just get involved.

I’ve known since I was 15 that I wanted to work in events, and that has not changed.  I’ve really enjoyed my time here.”

We’ve created a new, exciting and modern course that teaches you everything you need to know about running a successful event.  It will give you the skills you need to start a career in this dynamic and diverse industry, or move onto a higher level of study.

Start your career in events – apply for HNC Events, starting in August 2017.

Great job opportunities in building services

We caught up with Cameron Bell, Acting Head of Learning and Skills: Construction Technology and Trades at Ayrshire College to find out about a new course his team are launching called NPA Building Services. cameronbell

What’s the construction industry like right now – should parents be encouraging their son/daughter to start a career in this area?

Over the last ten years, employment in construction has been steadily increasing. It’s now at a record high. This is a great time to be thinking about getting into this industry. It’s not “just a job” it’s a career. There is a wide variety of job opportunities available in building services, construction technology and in each of the trades.

Some construction companies in Ayrshire have order books filled for the next five years with construction of schools, sports centres, social and private housing. For example, Morrison Construction has just been awarded the contract to build the East Ayrshire Learning Campus bringing together Auchinleck and Cumnock schools. Working in partnership with Morrison Construction we have taken an innovative approach with this project and have organised a classroom on site. This means when our students are learning about a particular aspect of construction they can spend time on the site seeing the theory put into practice.

We are also hoping that the South East Ayr project at Corton goes ahead as planned providing employment opportunities over the next 30 years.

What is your reason for introducing a new Building Services course this year?

Building services engineers are responsible for designing, installing and maintaining the services inside a building that are needed to allow it to function efficiently. These services include; heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing and electrical.

Take any building whether it’s domestic (houses,) commercial (offices or shops) or industrial (factories and manufacturing) – now think about all the services they may offer – e.g lifts, escalators, sprinkler systems, alarms, environmental systems, electrical, gas, drainage, communications; all these require someone to design, install and maintain them.

There are opportunities for people to go down the design route and become system designers who would work with architects and the design team to integrate all the services into the building. They might be working on designs for new buildings or need to do appraisals of existing building to ensure the services meet the needs of the people that would want to use the building, perhaps for a different purpose from it was originally. For instance, an old factory and warehouse being turned into flats above a restaurant and shops would have the need for both domestic and commercial services all in the one building which originally had old industrial services!

There are also many hands-on practical jobs in electrical, plumbing, air conditioning, ventilation and refrigeration. Building Services is an umbrella term that covers all these careers.

You could be working locally for a very small company doing an individual trade to working for a large, national organisation in the field of facilities management who are responsible for maintaining all the services in a building. Your work could involve travel and working shifts so that clients have 24- hour cover. Imagine the challenges big superstores such as Tesco or Asda face if their refrigeration units break down or the money hotels and restaurants would lose if their gas supply failed or their power went down.

Now that you can see the size of the industry and the diversity of the jobs, you begin to understand just how much of a demand there is for talented engineers to work in these areas. There are entry level jobs such as apprenticeships available now, in Scotland, with progression opportunities all over the world. Scotland has a great reputation worldwide for engineering. We wanted to introduce more courses that would allow people to start their engineering/construction career at college as we know there are lots of opportunities for skilled and qualified people all over Scotland.

What opportunities are there once you have achieved this course?

Once you have achieved the Level 5 course you can move into the Level 6 course at Ayrshire College.

After this, you have a choice to move to various HNC courses in Building Services, Electrical Engineering, Construction Management or Mechanical Engineering.

For those who wish to go down the academic route, there are HND and degree courses available. Some of our students choose to go down the apprenticeship route. This requires finding an employer to take on an apprentice. This is a 3 or 4 year commitment so it’s a great way to develop skills and achieve qualifications.

Have a look at our website here for more information on courses available.

What’s so special about Building Services Engineering?

You can find out more about the Building Services sector here.



Are you a graphic design graduate looking for a paid internship?

Ayrshire College has a fantastic opportunity for a graphic design graduate who is 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 campuses. 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.

Before you apply read this:

In the past year, I have been involved in the recruitment of eight 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.

Click here to download an application pack.


Man in the Mirror

Our “Man in the Mirror” campaign addresses gender imbalance and stereotyping in the hairdressing industry by highlighting the positive learning experiences of some of our students.

In this blog we interviewed Jordan Fisher, Level 3 Hairdressing student, from Stevenston. We wanted to find out a bit more about what it’s like starting out in the hairdressing industry, and an insight into Jordan’s career so far.


Here’s what he had to say:

“When I left school and originally went to college, I studied film-making.  However, I had always thought about what it would be like to go into hairdressing, so when I got the opportunity to get into the hairdressing course at Ayrshire College, I was delighted.

I like to chat and so a job where I could speak to customers suited me well.  I also like to think outside the box, so the fact that I get to be creative and artistic at the same time is perfect.

Hairdressing is never the same each day, it’s always fun as well as being a challenge.  I like the fact that I can keep up to date, and make sure that I know what styles are on-trend and pass this on to the customers.

The hairdressing course is really varied. We learn the theory and put this into practice in the training salon where we have real clients. They come in and we get assessed on the work that we do.  I’ve also had a placement at the College’s salon ‘You’ at the new Kilmarnock campus.  Getting the chance to work there was great.  I even had regulars coming in which was good.

One of the most challenging aspects of being a hairdresser is to make sure that no client leaves the salon unhappy with their new hairstyle.  That can be a bit stressful, but I just take my time, and make sure I know what the client would like every step of the way, and it works out fine.

The most important thing is making sure that you work to the best of your ability and that the client leaves the salon happy.  I love cutting and colouring, it’s great seeing the before and after!

I also work in a salon on a Saturday in Stevenston which means I get extra experience while working at the job that I love, so that’s a bonus.

I finish college in June and I’m hoping to work full-time in the salon I’m currently working in at the weekends.  I’d love to open my own place eventually, maybe in Prestwick.

I’m the only male in my class, and to be honest, it doesn’t matter at all to me.  Plus, it makes me stand out a wee bit which is good.

For any guys who want to get into hairdressing, I’d say definitely just go for it.  Don’t be put off by being in the minority in the classes.  We’re all learning the same things and have our own goals.  It’s never been an issue.”

Courses are open for August 2017 applications:

  • HNC Hairdressing, click here.
  • NC Hairdressing Level 5, click here.
  • NC Hairdressing Level 6, click here.
  • SVQ Barbering @ SCQF Level 5, click here.

Preparing for an interview for an engineering or construction course

Once you apply for an engineering or construction course at Ayrshire College, you will receive an invitation to attend an interview. To help you prepare for this we have talked to our interview team and asked them for some top tips on how you can prepare for this interview. Doing some preparation beforehand will help you increase your confidence. The purpose of the interview is for the interviewer to learn about you, and for you to find out about the College.



It is important to show enthusiasm at your interview.  You need to be able to demonstrate a genuine interest in the course. You can do this by explaining to the interviewer why you have chosen to apply for this course – what appealed to you most? It is also a good opportunity to show what your attitude to work is like? What drives you? What are your values? The point of an interview is not to find out how much you know about your chosen course, but more to see how suited and committed to the course you will be.

Do your homework

Research as much as you can about the course and if you have any questions about it, then ask. Initiative always looks good. The interviewer will also want to know about your interests and hobbies, what you are doing currently e.g. school subjects, current employment, past employment or work experience. Be prepared to talk about all of these topics – think about what you are going to say.

Know your plan

It is helpful if you have a career plan and know what kind of job you want to do. It means we can give you advice about the best route to help you get you that job. A back-up plan is also a good idea just in case you find the course is not for you. We will explore these ideas with you at your interview so think about it before you come along.

Prepare some questions

For example, being a successful engineer is all about having a good combination of technical knowledge and practical experience – so you could ask the interviewer about your course experience – how will you be learning? How much practical work is involved in the course?

Building Services Course Information Website Page

Aptitude test

In addition to your interview, you will be asked to do a written aptitude test. We are looking for good maths skills on all our engineering courses. This test will let us see how competent you are in this area.

Be Yourself

It’s also important to remember that we want to find out who you really are.  This means you shouldn’t try to pretend to be something you’re not – so be honest about why you want to study for this course and where you see yourself going in your career. If you’re not sure yet – say so – lots of people are unsure at this stage. We can help you choose a course with a broad base that gives you lots of options at the end of the course.

Everyone is nervous when they go for an interview. If you do suffer from excessive nerves, try to remember that interviewers aren’t trying to catch you out: they want the interview to go well too.

Ewan Granger, Curriculum Manager says “We don’t want you to fail; we want you to be the best you can be. I’m also here to advise you on the best course to get you started on the career you want. It’s important you come along well prepared and have thought about what you want to do in the future. I am delighted you are interested in an engineering/construction career and I will ensure you have all the information you need to make an informed choice and get onto the right course for you.”

Additional Support

Contact us beforehand if you require any additional support at your interview.

Ayr Campus: 01292 293553

Kilmarnock Campus: 01563 523501

Kilwinning Campus: 01294 555325


On the day of your interview

Be smart, clean and tidy as this shows you are making an effort and keen to be accepted onto the course. It is important to make a good first impression.

Make sure you know which campus to go for your interview and how long it will take to get there. If you are driving – parking is very limited so allow time to find a space or an alternative car park. If you are going to be late please call to let us know: 0300 303 0303

Arrive on time or at least 10mins early so that you can be prepared for any delays.

Please report to the main reception and our front of house staff will direct you to the interview room.

Good luck!

Why study for a career in additional support needs?

In this blog we interviewed Katie McLellan who is currently studying at Glasgow Caledonian University in her first year of Learning Disability Student Nursing. We wanted to speak to Katie to learn about her pathway in to this career and what it’s like to study for a career in care.katiemclellan

You can watch the video interview of Katie here.

What did you do after leaving school?

When I left school I didn’t really have a clue what I wanted to do or where I wanted to go. I did a last minute application to do primary teaching but I didn’t get in. I decided to go to college and get some qualifications. I applied for a social science course thinking that would get me into primary teaching. However, my plans changed and I decided this wasn’t what I wanted to do. Instead, I enrolled on an additional support needs course at college. I thought this ticked a lot of boxes – it’s working with children but it also specialised in learning disabilities and I thought that would be interesting, and it would open a lot of different doors for me.

Did you enjoy the course?

I loved it! I adored the HNC as I got to go out and work with children in placements in schools for children with support needs. I learned a lot about communication barriers and child protection. It was a really interesting course.

So was it quite a hands on course?

Really hands on which made you enjoy it more. It wasn’t just spending hours in a classroom, you got to go out in placement and you got to put what you’d learned in college into practice.

What did you do after college?

I worked for 2 years with people who had additional support needs, quite complex additional support needs. From here, I decided I could take it one step further and get my nursing qualification. There are community placements and hospital based placements depending on what your choices are. I’ve been out on two community placements so far with the Community Learning Disability teams. I am mentored by a nurse who looks at my caseload, nursing assessments, giving patients medication etc. So it’s quite in depth but I’ve not done a hospital setting yet.

What placements do you do?

Obviously with learning disabilities there isn’t as many ward-based placements as there are community based placements but you do get the opportunity to go into a ward based placement so you have the best of both worlds.

What’s been the best thing about University?

I think it’s having that independence back. Obviously when I was younger I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my education but now that I’m older I’ve discovered what I want to do. I’ve got that drive and passion to go learn and get my qualification which I never thought I’d want to do. So it’s getting that drive back.

What does a typical day look like?

I’m at university just now but with the placement I’m only in one day at university so it’s good. Obviously you’ve got your lectures, a lot of group work and you try to get your essays done. Your days can vary, there’s days when you can be quiet with paper work and other days when you’re going from visit to visit, and you don’t know what’s going to get thrown at you.

Why do you love working with communities?

I picked Learning Disability Nursing because of the one to one experience you get with the patient. It’s a lot more personal as you get to visit the same person and see their journey and help them as much as you can.

What’s been your biggest achievement?

I think it’s being able to stand on my own two feet and get a full time job and show my parents I do know what I want, I do know who I am and I do know where I’m going. It’s getting that confidence from them that they trust me. It’s nice to have that bit of independence, make your own money and show them that I do have a plan.

Have you thought about the future?

Right now because I’ve only done the community based placement that’s in my head. However there is a forensic placement where you get the opportunity to go to prisons into secure wards. I’m still deciding what to do next.

What would you tell potential students who may be interested in studying for the same career as you?

I just think it’s quite rewarding and there are so many different routes to go down you don’t have to do nursing. I know students who have got a lot more information on caring for their family so they can cope at home or students who are full time carers.

It opens a big variety of jobs and experiences, you can take it absolutely anywhere in the world – it’s a good qualification to have.

At Ayrshire College we are launching a new course HNC Additional Support Needs which could lead to a similar pathway to Katie.

Alternatively you could become an additional support needs support worker or assistant within a mainstream school or college, specialised school, within a range of social service care settings or a range of community and/or third sector settings.

Click here to find out more information and to apply for this course.



Why you should study hairdressing and barbering

In this blog we interviewed Kelly Murray who is the stylist in the You Salon which is located in the Kilmarnock Campus. Kelly is also one of our hairdressing lecturers.  We wanted to find out a bit more about her pathway into this career.kellyyousalon

What did you do after school?

I left school at 16 and worked in retail for a year. I went to college at 17 to complete a childcare qualification at Ayrshire College, Ayr Campus. After this I went on to work in a childcare setting and completed work based qualifications up to management level.

How did you get into hairdressing?

In my early to mid 20s I was looking for a career change. I was encouraged by some of my colleagues at the time to consider hairdressing. It was something I was so passionate about and loved doing. I decided to come back to Ayrshire College when I was 25 and I completed my HNC Hairdressing alongside an evening Barbering course.

What was your experience like coming back to study at Ayrshire College?

I thought the courses were brilliant and they opened up a lot of different opportunities for me. I got endless amounts of support from the lecturers and the Student Services team.

Why did you choose to study barbering as well?

When I was training to be a hairdresser, I did all of the barbering qualifications alongside this. I think it makes you attractive to clients if you can do both ladies and gents hair. At the time it wasn’t part of the hairdressing course so I did this in the evenings. The College now offers a full time barbering course here and I’d definitely recommend it.

What do you think of barbering?

I think trends are changing and demand is growing for barbers. Gents are looking for different styles, fades and perms. Just have a look at what is trending on social media and you’ll soon see how there is an increasing popularity with barbering and owning a barbershop. I think men look for that chilled out experience when they are going for a haircut.

A barbering course at Ayrshire College is a worthwhile investment in your skills.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Getting to do what I love every day but also getting to work with the students. I help students get experience in the You Salon, and also help out in their courses as I am on the Bank Register as a lecturer and I absolutely love it.

What’s been your biggest achievement in your career?

I had my own salon for years, which was a massive experience for me. However the biggest achievement has been getting to work for Ayrshire College. It’s always been a goal of mine and to be able to achieve that has been fantastic.

If you were to tell a future student why they should study hairdressing or barbering what would you say?

It gives you endless possibilities. It’s a fantastic pathway to employment and the College will support you throughout.  If you are already a trained hairdresser you should also consider enhancing your qualifications and learning about new trends by attending the HNC Hairdressing evening classes. It’s a great opportunity to upskill and improve your technique.

Courses are open for August 2017 applications:

  • HNC Hairdressing, click here.
  • NC Hairdressing Level 5, click here.
  • Nc Hairdressing Level 6, click here.
  • SVQ Barbering @ SCQF Level 5, click here.

So you want to be a building services engineer?

In this blog we discover what this job involves and what skills you will need. If you are interested in starting a career in this area then we can help you get started.


What does a building services engineer do?

A building services engineer could work for various types of organisations including a building, plumbing or electrical contractor, a local council, hospital or factory. They are responsible for designing, installing and maintaining the services inside a building that are needed to allow it to function efficiently. These services include; heating, ventilation, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing and electrical.

You could be involved with reducing the environmental impact on the building, making sure the building meets the health and safety standards and co-ordinating the work of many tradespeople.

You would work in an office as well as on the construction site and you would work closely with other professionals including structural engineers, builders, architects, surveyors and in-house project teams.

Are there jobs and what kind of person is suited to this career?

Yes! There are lots of job opportunities: The Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) industry in Scotland is very strong. If you choose an engineering career you will have a wide choice of career options at the end of your course.

The sector needs skilled people with a can do attitude. People who are curious about HOW things work. People who embrace technology, enjoy maths and science and like nothing better than solving problems and discovering the latest technologies.

Building Services Course Information Website Page(2)

If I studied for this career – what skills would I learn?

In addition to the knowledge and understanding about the various building services, you are going to need core skills to be successful in this career. These would always be included in any course you were studying:

ICT Skills: You will learn how to do building information modelling (BIM), 3D visualisations and many other ICT packages. As well as understanding how to use the software you will need to analyse and interpret data so you can explain to your clients what the information means.

Communication Skills: Our engineering and construction employers tell us communication is one of the most important skills they look for in applicants. You will have to present ideas, write progress reports and co-ordinate the work of tradespeople. This means you will need good writing and presentation skills and be able to listen and talk to other people from all levels of a business.

Work as part of a team: It’s all about the team! In your College course we will give you lots of practical exercises to help you learn to work as a team, understand how to get the best out of your team, and discover what your role is in a team.  Although you will enjoy planning you are at your happiest when you are doing the practical stuff!

Problem Solving Skills: Employers need people who can help them solve problems and make decisions that will ensure the client gets their building delivered on time. If you are a hands-on person who likes to deal with practical – often tedious – problems that have to be overcome to get a project completed on time, and within budget, then a building services course might be for you! You’ll learn how to keep a cool head under pressure – always coming up with solutions on your feet.

Interpersonal Skills! You are an enthusiastic learner, you are open to new ideas and enjoy negotiating but most of all feel your contribution is helping the team move forward. “People buy people” so if you are friendly, outgoing and good at interacting with people you will get the most out of a building services course.

Time Management/Organisational Skills If you are tasked with co-ordinating all the building services then you have to be well organised and be able to manage a project so that you deliver your services on time.

Ayrshire College is launching new Building Services courses starting in August 2017

NPA Building Services Engineering with Plumbing SCQF Level 5 (Ayr)

NPA Building Services with Plumbing SCQF Level 5 (Kilwinning)

NC Building Services SCQF Level 6 (Ayr)

Interested? Click on the course name above for more information.

If you would like to talk to someone about these courses you can email

or call Ewan Granger 01292 265184 Ext. 7475