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.

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.

Girls into ICT Day 2017

Girls into ICT 2017 image

Celebrated around the world on the fourth Thursday in April, International Girls in ICT Day aims to encourage girls and young women to consider studies and careers in ICT.

Women are under-represented in IT occupations and make up just 17% of IT specialists working in the UK. Ayrshire College promotes International Girls in ICT Day every year, highlighting the need to promote career opportunities for girls and women in the world’s fastest growing sector.

Digital skills are increasingly important, according to a new survey conducted across the UK by the British Chambers of Commerce. The findings, found that 83% of companies say digital and IT skills are more important to their business than two years ago, with nearly half saying these skills are significantly more important.

However, the survey also found that more than 80% of businesses are facing a shortage of digital skills in their workforce. With over 12,000 new jobs predicted each year in Scotland, there has never been a better time to start a career in digital technologies.

Why consider a career in ICT?

Scotland is a hot-bed of digital technology and home to some of the most innovative tech companies in the world. Billion dollar businesses like SkyScanner and FanDuel are based in Scotland. Global tech players like Microsoft and Amazon have major tech hubs here too.

Innovative tech businesses are being created across the country. And thousands of businesses in financial services, the creative industries, life sciences and the public sector depend on tech professionals to deliver their services.

We are running an industry-supported #ThisAyrshireGirlCan Technology Workout which will take place at our Kilmarnock Campus on Wednesday 14 June.

In partnership with SmartSTEMS, a charity established to encourage more girls into science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the event will introduce female pupils in first and second year at secondary school to the many career options available in STEM. IMG_2237

The pupils will see and experience technology in a whole new light, learning from leading companies about the exciting and diverse opportunities that STEM offers, as well as the many high value jobs which they can aspire to.

At the #ThisAyrshireGirlCan Technology Workout, female pupils will hear from inspirational speakers Jo Watts, Principal of Customer Analytics at Dufrain Consulting and Wendy Pring, Managing Director at KCP Environmental Services.

Most of the day will be about taking part in a wide variety of interactive workshops run by companies, learning to code at our award winning CoderDojo Ayrshire club and exploring interactive exhibits.IMG_2223-0

Ayrshire College encourages girls and young women to take advantage of the increasing opportunities in digital occupations. This event will help inform young people about careers in computing and STEM as they start to make subject choices at school.

Register here before Friday 9 June 2107

Find out more

Take a look at some of our videos and blog posts from women in computing in the past twelve months.

Gillian Docherty – Chief Executive of The Data Lab – watch Gillian’s fascinating talk here.

Caroline Stuart – Scotland Director for Oracle Corporation Ltd and led our recent Ayrshire Bytes conference.

Claire Beattie – Service Desk Analyst at brightsolid, an award winning company which provides data centre and cloud services.

Heather Traher – Senior User Experience Researcher at Google


Taking the next steps to a career in tourism

As part of their course, the HND Tourism students were challenged to organise a tourism conference. In this blog we hear from some of the students about their event management experience.


The recent #nextstepsconference was led by HND Tourism students and delivered through informative workshops for secondary school pupils and tourism students alike on what their ‘next steps’ on the career ladder in the tourism industry could be.

Over 80 delegates attended on the day with representation from a number of schools – Belmont Academy, Greenwood Academy, The Grange, Prestwick Academy and St Joseph’s Academy.

Marc Crothall, CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, provided the key note speech about the wider range of employment opportunities in the tourism sector.

Speakers also included Craig Lawless from ACE Adventures, Claire Munroe from the Scottish Maritime Museum and Claire Donaldson from SRUC presented on the various niche sectors that offer employment in rural tourism.


The HND Tourism students who organised and led the event showed great enthusiasm and passion for the tourism industry in Ayrshire, Scotland and beyond!

We asked them to share their thoughts on the day.

Devlin McCloskey – My role as manager of the #nextstepsconference was overseeing all operations in both planning and management of the event. My job on the day of the event was to make sure delegates were being registered by reception staff and being shown the industry stands. I also helped with the set-up of the venue – checking everything was located where it should be.

I was so proud of how the conference went.  The most rewarding aspect of organising the event was hearing delegates, guest speakers, industry partners and our lecturer Richard Canale give positive feedback about the success of the conference. It gave us all a sense of great pride in our achievements.

Have a look at Facebook Live videos from the event here.

Daina McVey – I was keen to showcase what travel and tourism courses are on offer at Ayrshire College and I’ve gained more skills from organising the conference.  I felt it was a great opportunity to promote Scotland’s fantastic tourist industry to the next generation.

Jodie Timmins – I’d really been looking forward to the event and seeing all of our hard work come together.  It was a great opportunity to show what travel and tourism entails as I feel most people think it’s only based around travel agents and cabin crew.  It’s so much more!

Logan Erskine – this was a superb learning experience and a great way to promote tourism to the local school leavers.  Being involved with this event will definitely be an asset for my CV.

Patrycja Wirkus – the conference has been a great opportunity to see what it is like running this kind of event and being part of an events team.  It’s hectic, but a great way to encourage people to think about a career in the tourism industry.

You can find out more about travel and tourism courses at Ayrshire College here.

Events roles are found in many different types of sectors such as hospitality and tourism, education, sport, and entertainment.  Apply now for HNC Events

10 reasons why you should study Event Management


  1. Lots of job opportunities: The events industry in Scotland is flourishing – from major international sporting events like the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, to music events such as T in the Park and the MOBOs, to an ever-growing number of festivals for foodies, culture vultures, adrenalin junkies, whisky enthusiasts and everyone in between. All these events need talented people to run them. People who are energetic, quick to learn and passionate about all things events!
  2. Increases your confidence: An event management course will help you develop your interpersonal skills so that you feel more confident dealing with people in the workplace. We do this by involving you in hands-on activities such as organising live events such as fundraising. Event managers need to deal with clients, suppliers, and other people in the organisation on a daily basis, so you need to learn to be confident and assertive.
  3. Prepares you for the modern office: You will learn how to use the most up-to-date ICT Microsoft packages. If you have great ICT skills you will be immediately effective in the workplace. Event staff use Word and Excel every day so you will need to become confident using these tools. You need to promote your event on websites and social media so you will learn how to plan campaigns and reach your audience.
  4. Improves your communication: Event staff need to be able to write letters, emails, copy for brochures and flyers, chair meetings and negotiate deals with customers. We also help you develop your listening skills and raise your awareness of the importance of body language. Our employers tell us communication is one of the most important skills they look for in applicants.
  5. 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. Event staff are not afraid to get stuck in – although they love planning they are at their happiest when they are doing the practical stuff!
  6. Learn to deliver exceptional customer service: For an event to be a success you need to understand your client’s needs and deliver a service that exceeds their expectations. An events course will show you how to achieve this. Learn to be professional yet personable and friendly. You’ll appreciate the importance of taking care of every detail in every task you undertake.
  7. You can exploit your creativity:  are you a creative thinker – with the eye of a designer and appreciation for high quality?  Are you innovative? Event management gives you opportunities to make a real impact by tapping into your creative side. You will be the person to bring the ideas to the table and helping to make these happen.
  8. If you love a challenge: Employers need people who can help them solve problems and make decisions that will generate wealth for their business. If you are a hands-on person who likes to deal with practical problems that have to be overcome to get that event running smoothly, then an events course might be for you! You’ll learn how to keep a cool head under pressure – always coming up with solutions on your feet.
  9. Because you are a people person! You like to talk, discuss, debate, negotiate but most of all feel your contribution is helping. “People buy people” so if you are good at interacting with people and enjoy the experience you will get the most out of an event management course.
  10. Want to be self-employed? An events management business can be run from home.  Studying an events course can help you achieve the knowledge and skills you will need to manage your own business. Stop dreaming and start believing in yourself – you can make this happen!

Ayrshire College are launching a new HNC Events course starting in August 2017. Interested? Find out more here.

Want to hear from someone who is already in the industry? Meet Ada our Marketing and Events Intern, and find out more about her job.

Meet the Apprentice – Martin Frew, Wallace McDowall Ltd

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we are introducing a number of students who are at various stages of their apprenticeships.

On Monday we heard from Craig Stobbs of Ayrshire Precision, on Tuesday we introduced you to GE Caledonian Ltd’s Tracey Govan and on Wednesday we met Louis Kerr from Watermiser.

Earlier today we heard from Colin McEwan of Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems, next up is Martin Frew from Wallace McDowall Ltd.

Wallace McDowall Ltd, based in Monkton, was established over 47 years ago as a sheet metal fabricator. Over the years, they have grown into one of the UK’s leading sub-contract engineering companies.

Martin, 19 from Kilwinning, is a Welder and Fabricator Apprentice at Wallace McDowall Ltd.


Martin said “I was at college last year doing the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course, which was a good head start in this industry.  The course covered a few aspects of the engineering industry, and I got to know what I enjoyed doing the most, which turned out to be welding.

After I had finished the course, I started applying for jobs that were advertised at the College which ended up with me becoming a Welder and Fabricator apprentice.

First thing in the morning, the supervisor gives me a job spec and I just get on with it.  I enjoy being an apprentice. I like being left to myself to get on with the job.  I’m in college one day a week, and the rest of the time I’m working.  I mostly work on my own, but if I need help I can go to supervisors or they’ll talk me through the job.

Getting hands-on experience is definitely the main benefit of being an apprentice.  There’s so many people I work with that can pass on their knowledge or give advice when I need it, so it’s good to have all of that to hand.  For me, it’s an easier way to learn.

Just being able to get my trade papers is great.  I’ve not decided where I want to be when I finish here, but it’ll definitely be a career in welding.”



Meet the Apprentice – Colin McEwan, Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we are introducing a number of students who are at various stages of their apprenticeships.

On Monday we heard from Craig Stobbs of Ayrshire Precision, on Tuesday we introduced you to GE Caledonian Ltd’s Tracey Govan and on Wednesday we met Louis Kerr from Watermiser.

Next up is 18-year-old Colin McEwan from Saltcoats who is in the first year of his apprenticeship with Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems, based in Prestwick.

IMG_7933Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems is an independent designer, manufacturer, and service provider of control solutions for the aerospace and industrial markets.

Colin said “I’m a hands-on kind of person and was always interested in going down the engineering route. I found out about Woodward through a school visit at Ardrossan Academy in fourth year.  I kept in contact and asked if I could arrange some work experience, which I did a few months later.

The week’s work experience was really useful as I received a lot of feedback. The best advice I received about how to get into the engineering industry was to do the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course at Ayrshire College.  Just as I was about to finish the PEO course, I contacted Woodward.  As it turned out, I got a trial, then got started as an assembly apprentice and have now been here for 7 months.

At the moment I am getting trained on working the controls, so that means stripping them down and building them back up.  On a typical day, we have a team meeting with the section.  I find out what I’ll be working on and who I’m working with.  I have specific one-to-one training every day and I’ll stay in each section for about 8 weeks, before moving onto the next.  It’s really good training at Woodward as you get the chance to find out about every part of the industry.  In my second year, I’ll be in a more specific section, the first year is more general.


I would definitely like to stay at Woodward once I complete my apprenticeship and learn as much as I can.  It’s a fairly small company and I’d like to try to develop my skills here.

I love the amount of hands-on work I get to do here, everyone’s great to work with too.  I hope to develop into the engineering side of things in the aviation industry later on, so would go to university, and eventually work my way up in the aviation industry.

Meet the apprentice – Tracey Govan, GE Caledonian Ltd

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we are introducing a number of students who are at various stages of their apprenticeships.

Next is 30-year-old Tracey Govan who is an Apprentice Fitter with GE Caledonian Ltd.


GE Caledonian at Prestwick is an aeronautical engine overhaul facility, providing services for aviation engines and components as well as avionics, electrical power and mechanical systems for aircraft.

Tracey worked in a large supermarket for eleven years, before a change in company structure made her consider her future.  Tracey left the supermarket to pursue her dream career.

Tracey said ”I wanted to completely change my career and do something different.  I’d always liked being hands-on, doing anything that involved a bit of skill, and I like learning new things.  I decided to go back to college, which to be honest, is the best thing I could have done.”

Now she’s in the second year of an apprenticeship following a year studying Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course Ayrshire College.

“I found that being on the PEO course was a great way to be considered for an apprenticeship, it opened up a lot of opportunities for me.  Since I had already done one year on the PEO course, I went straight to being a second year apprentice at GE Caledonian Ltd.

I’m an Apprentice Fitter which means that I work on different sections on the shop floor, working alongside a colleague.  In my three years here, I’ll get to work in all of the sections.

The job is very hands-on, working to manuals – whatever repairs that the customer requires with their particular engine, I work alongside a mechanic and do what’s required.


My favourite part of working as an apprentice is the variety.  No day is the same, even if you’re in the same section, there’s always a different part of the job to learn, whether that is repairs, upgrades or working with single item components.  I work with different people on a weekly basis, due to shift patterns, so I get to meet everyone and learn different skills from them.

I go to college 2 days a week, and next year it’ll be 1 day a week.  The benefit of being an apprentice is that you can put the theory you learn at college into practice and learn as you go.  Actually being involved in the work is great.  I’ll get a recognised qualification as well as trade papers.

It’s amazing the opportunities that are out there working for a multinational company like GE Caledonian.  Once I finish my apprenticeship, I’d like to continue working for GE Caledonian, the opportunities are definitely there.






Guest Post – Margaret Harper, Ayrshire College Foundation Trustee

The Ayrshire College Foundation was set up in order to support Ayrshire-based projects that provide educational opportunities for all age groups.


We interviewed Margaret Harper, Ayrshire College Foundation Trustee.


I am a Depute Head Teacher at Grange Academy and my background is as a Physics teacher. I have worked together with Ayrshire College for decades because I believe that if we are working together, we can get the best we can for the young people we serve.

I have had many roles including being involved in enterprise and education with the College, I have been a member of the College Board, the chair of learning and teaching at Kilmarnock and I am now delighted to be a trustee of the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Why did you choose to get involved with the Ayrshire College Foundation?

With the Foundation it was almost a natural progression for me, when Ayr, Kilmarnock and Kilwinning Colleges merged to become Ayrshire College, I stepped down from the board but was delighted to be invited back to continue some involvement with the College. I am passionate about education, industry, colleges and further education all working together, so this let me maintain some involvement with the College and continue my support for it.

What did you think of the Mission Discovery Project?

We sent pupils from the school every morning, who were all very excited heading off to Mission Discovery and returning in the afternoon enthusiastically with lots of stories to tell.

I visited the event where astronaut Michael Foale gave a talk, which was such an inspiration. Our students found it hugely beneficial, especially within my subject, physics, where the challenge is always to ensure that young women understand that they have a huge future within the STEM industries.

Another benefit was that the students realised the massive opportunities that are here for them right on their doorstep in Ayrshire. One of the young people at the event commented on how they couldn’t believe that they could pursue their career in Ayrshire.

I’m interested to hear how you encourage girls into STEM subjects?

We have done so many things over the years as joint initiatives, with schools and colleges and other partners as well, higher education and further education sectors but it is sometimes difficult. As a teacher of physics and as a principal teacher of physics, I could have three rows of girls, and one row of boys in my class, but then not many of the girls were actually going on to do anything to do with STEM when they went on to university or work.

I would say that the biggest impact for me, my most successful experience, was getting the young people out and working in real work places. When I taught my advanced higher class on a Friday afternoon, we used to meet in the carpark and jump in my car and I’d take them to wherever would give me a project, a real problem for them, and allow my girls and boys to work together and use their skills.

We visited places like Diageo and the Paper Mill and actually see what it was like for women, and for men, to work side by side in engineering and scientific environments. The problem is that many people believe that science isn’t “girly” so to deal with that, I felt the best way was to get the girls out there and see what it was really like in a working environment. Because they were treated equally in the workplace, it made the students realise it didn’t matter if they are male or female, they can do whatever they want to do.

What did you think of the work done at the Student Services areas in our Ayr and Kilwinning campuses?

I think that the work was all very thoughtfully undertaken and it is evident that all students are benefiting from it. After the work was completed, I actually thought to myself, “why did we not do this sooner?” It’s great.

What type of person or group can apply for funding from the Ayrshire College Foundation?  

One of our challenges is to understand and support applications appropriately. We need to make sure we get right applications and respond appropriately to them. However, we don’t have an exclusion zone, my experience is that the foundation are open to considering a wide range of applications. We have no set expectations, however the project has to be seen to benefit educationally and we want it to lead to positive destinations and impact the area and community, not just one person.

How do I find out more?

More details about the Ayrshire College Foundation and how to apply for funding are available on our website


Meet the new Hospitality Intern at Ayrshire College

The main benefits to internships are experiencing working as part of a team, developing professional relationships within the organisation and making external contacts. Working hard will make a good impression and leaving with a great reference will be invaluable when looking for your next job.

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.

Sarah Marshall, age 22 from Kilmarnock, started a Hospitality Internship at Ayrshire College’s training restaurant Salt and Barrel in the Kilmarnock Campus in November, right before the busy festive period.


Sarah tells us about her typical day and what it’s like to be the new Hospitality Intern at Ayrshire College.

When I was at school I always knew I wanted a career in the hospitality industry.  I left school to go to Ayrshire College to study NC Hospitality, then progressed to HNC and HND Hospitality Management.  I was really pleased that I got all A’s as the standard is extremely high in the hospitality department at the College.

From there I went straight onto the third year at university to do a management course.  Luckily a friend pointed out that the intern position had come up at the College, working specifically with the new training restaurant at the Kilmarnock campus, Salt and Barrel, so I went for it!

I’ve been here since the end of November – just at the start of the busy festive period, so I was thrown in at the deep end.  But in the short time I’ve been here, I’ve learned so much.

Tell us about a typical day?

My main role is to support the Hospitality lecturers.  Every day starts with setting up the restaurant when I come in.  This can be making sure that the tables are all set, checking the bookings for that day, and checking that everything is in place for customers arriving for their lunch.

It means that when the students arrive in the morning, there’s no mad rush to set up as it’s already been done.

I take bookings, either over the phone or via the website, as well as updating the website and managing the Salt and Barrel social media pages.

I regularly do a stock control of the bar, and order new stock when required.  There’s a bit of negotiating with suppliers. I’m always trying to get a good deal.

I also help to negotiate with suppliers for upcoming events, whether that is flowers for the tables or food and drink.  I also get involved with trying to get new sponsors on board for events.

There is always something to do.  Even if it’s a quieter day, I always find that there’s a staff member coming in looking for help, so I’m happy to do that.  I really enjoy my job so it’s always a pleasure.

How long does the internship last and what are your plans?

It’s for 12 months.  Because I have enjoyed this experience so much, I have thought part of me would like to get into teaching.  The lecturers who work at the College have really inspired me to look more into the teaching aspect of the industry.

The lecturers here have a wealth of knowledge and I would like to get more experience, in different areas of the hospitality industry, before I decide exactly where I see myself in my career.  But, it will definitely be in the Hospitality industry!

John Govan, Head of Hospitality and Tourism at Ayrshire College said “We are delighted to have Sarah in this new post of Hospitality Intern supporting the students and the work of the training restaurant. The balance we have to achieve between the demands of the curriculum and student needs, and the demands of running a restaurant make it essential to have this new post, and Sarah has settled well into the role, and is helping to shape it for the future.”