Prince’s Trust Team – Residential

The Prince’s Trust programme at the College provides students with tremendous experiences over the 12 weeks that it runs.

One of the most rewarding aspects of any Prince’s Trust programme is the residential trip that the Teams embark on.

For one week, the Teams mix together and enjoy team building activities.

We asked one of this group’s team members, Fiona Banner of Prince’s Trust Team 157 (Kilwinning), if she would share her experiences of her recent residential trip.

Here is what she said.


As a new team we were all very anxious and excited to go on our residential trip with the Prince’s Trust. We had looked forward to the new experiences that would face us there. Living with all these new people for four days and being around them every hour of the day felt like it was going to be a struggle for everyone.

Luckily, the Kilwinning Team are a great team who stick together and look out for each other. They are very reliable and offer support when it’s needed, which we found out during our trip.

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The first day was exciting and everyone was thrilled to be there. We did various team building exercises, which helped us realise we could trust our team which was necessary for the rest of the activities. We teamed up for orienteering that day and at night time we challenged our teammates on inflatables and raced against each other. These kind of activities helped everyone get an insight to their teammates’ strengths and weaknesses.

We found ourselves making new friends with the Kilmarnock and Ayr teams and made new bonds after a whole day of activities. We felt more comfortable with the other teams compared to how we felt before we went on residential.

On the second day, everyone was eager to get up and go out to Auchengillan Outdoor Centre. We had to climb a tall pole, work as a team to build an unstable crate stack and climb it, then do rock climbing and abseiling. These helped push every individual to the best of their abilities and for some to face their fears. This is a hard thing to do but having the support and motivation of your team and leaders helped a great deal. We all managed to push ourselves further than we ever imagined.

During the night we competed against each other in various games like indoor hockey, quizzes and we did trust building exercises with the teams. This helped create a bigger and better bond with everyone.

By day three we all felt like we had known each other for years even though we had only spent 11 days together.

It was a great atmosphere, everyone was looking out for each other because we were all on the same boat. The third day was the last day for activities – we got to go grass sledging, rifle shooting, raft building and para dropping. Here we all learned new skills and enhanced our team working skills. We put our knowledge of each other’s strengths and weaknesses to use and managed to work out strategies for different people in the team to get things done efficiently.

Finally we had a talent show where several people showed off any secret talents they had. People who just wanted a laugh and to make the most of their experience performed. This gave us a better insight into everyone’s personalities and it was a great confidence booster for everyone being able to perform their talents while having amazing support from the teams – whether the performers were good or bad!

We all wish we could go back and do it all over again. It was amazing for everyone. We all learned very valuable life skills that will help us a great deal in the future, without us even knowing we were learning them at the time.

We all came back better people than when we first entered the team. With all the learning and activities aside we all had a brilliant laugh and hopefully made bonds for life.

The experience has taught me to believe in myself and sometimes in life you just need to know someone has your back and you can achieve better than you ever imagined.

8 things the Semta UK Training Partner of the Year Award means for Ayrshire

Coinciding with Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Ayrshire College has received the amazing accolade of being named the 2017 UK Training Partner of the Year at the Semta Skills Awards in London.

Semta is a UK-wide organisation and is the sector skills body for engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship frameworks in Scotland.

Over 500 people representing the best of British engineering attended the awards ceremony. This achievement reflects the work we do with the engineering industry in Ayrshire, particularly the cluster of aerospace companies around Prestwick Airport, and our internal and external partnerships that facilitate this.

What does this award say about Ayrshire College? Here are eight things we believe it tells us.

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It shows Ayrshire means business. It can be relatively quick and easy to acquire land and build premises, but to build a skills base is a much longer term investment. The recognition from Semta, rating us as being the top training partner in the UK is a sign that we have made this investment and Ayrshire is the prime location for aerospace and manufacturing companies to operate and grow.

Companies already operating in Ayrshire can be confident that the education and training sector matches their ambitions. Meanwhile, businesses thinking of relocating have assurances that a skilled workforce already exists locally, with future generations already in the pipeline.

We are also responding to the need for businesses to be lean and globally competitive by expanding our suite of training in Business Improvement Techniques. Ayrshire can rightly boast both a highly skilled and increasingly productive workforce.

The Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme is at the heart of our offer to businesses in this sector. MAs allow companies to strategically invest in skills and combat the trend of an ageing manufacturing workforce that is seen across Scotland. The high quality of education and training we provide ensures that cohorts of MAs make a positive difference to the productivity and culture within the business. Indeed, most aerospace companies we work with recognise these advantages and have expanded their apprentice intakes over the last few years.

Opportunities are improved through partnerships with our local businesses and stakeholders. We are constantly engaging with businesses, directly and via partnerships such as Prestwick Aerospace and the Ayrshire Engineering Alliance, to establish their needs now and in the future. Through this continued engagement, we are able to invest our resources correctly, ensuring that we provide the right skills, in the right place at the right time. This engagement ensures that we can add elements to our programmes, such as Part 66 Aircraft Maintenance Licensing tuition and CAA exams, that are of real and immediate benefit to local businesses.

Local people are getting local jobs and, not just that, high value jobs too. Around 90% of our apprentice intake in 2016-17 was from local education, with 60% from an Ayrshire College course. These courses are specifically designed to align to job opportunities. Scottish Government’s Developing the Young Workforce strategy calls for more job recruitment directly from education and that is what we are achieving. As well as apprenticeship programmes, we are helping a wide variety of people find employment. Our employability courses are helping retrain unemployed engineers into jobs as sheet-metal workers for the aircraft maintenance industry and graduates from our full-time courses are also being recruited as trainee mechanics.

We are helping create the workforce of the future by giving school pupils access to inspirational programmes. Mission Discovery gave 200 young people from across Ayrshire the opportunity to be trained and truly inspired by NASA scientists, engineers and astronauts. Sponsored by the Ayrshire College Foundation, the 5-day event will ultimately see a pupil project being carried out on the International Space Station. Young people can now see the exciting jobs that are on their doorsteps. We have started offering the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering this year, supporting senior stage school pupils to expand their vocational skills and giving them access to our local industry.

A global business sector needs a world class training environment and that is what we provide. Our Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre opened in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength. Further investment in an upgraded composites materials laboratory has ensured we are providing world class training in advanced manufacturing and repair, to the latest standards. Recent courses in this technology have seen delegates from around Europe attend and raise their skills level. Our new £53 million campus in Kilmarnock is an exceptional learning environment equipped with the latest technology to extensively support engineering and manufacturing companies.

Our work doesn’t stop when people find employment. Far from it. We continue to work with our local companies to ensure their current workforce has the correct skills they need to prosper, whether it be in composite technology, business improvement or management skills to name but a few. Firstly, this helps increase the opportunities for Ayrshire’s workforce to reach their personal career aims. Secondly, it helps business sustainability and, hopefully, aids growth. Thirdly, the combination of these two elements will create the entry level opportunities for the next generation of apprentices and graduates, creating a truly virtuous cycle.

A diverse workforce is key to future success and is something we are committed to for the benefit of our communities and businesses. Current recruitment patterns to aerospace apprenticeships and full-time college courses still show a major gender imbalance with more than 90% being male. This creates a talent pool that is vastly reduced in size which sees females have a lack of opportunity to access high value jobs. Ultimately, a reduced talent pool can have a knock-on effect for business productivity also. We work hard alongside our business partners to challenge gender stereotyping and other equality issues and our This Ayrshire Girl Can campaign won the Herald Diversity award for Best Marketing and Social Issues Campaign.

 

Apprentices are a great way to build your team

For Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we interviewed Robert Paterson, Training Officer from UTC Aerospace Systems. UTC has taken on 65 apprentices at their Prestwick operation over the last twenty years. Robert gives us an insight into the recruitment process at UTC.

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How many apprentices do you currently employ?

We currently have 15 apprentices at various stages of the process and we’re looking to start another four this year.

What’s your intake each year and does this vary year to year?

This varies, it can be anywhere between two and six depending upon the forecast of the business need at that particular time.  We have long-term visibility of a shortage in a particular department and we’ve used the apprentice intake to fill that gap on previous occasions.

How do you recruit? 

We handle the entire recruitment ourselves.  We select candidates for testing based upon their application forms.  The testing is a two part process; one part is psychometric testing and they complete three tests, the other part is a hands-on task during which they have to follow instructions and use a variety of hand tools in order to assemble a test piece.

Where do you advertise and is there a specific time of the year you do this?

It’s advertised internally on the notice boards for word-of-mouth publicity and we also place an advert in the local press along with our website and the local Chamber of Commerce and in local schools and college.

What entry qualifications are you looking for?

We have two different apprenticeships to offer this year;

Mechanic/Inspector – we’re looking for qualifications in National 5 at A or B in English, Physics and Maths.  A practical craft subject is desirable, but not essential.  The candidate should have a demonstrable interest in engineering and/or mechanical activities.

Business Apprentice – we’re looking for Highers in Maths, English and a business-related subject.

Tell us about the learning experience your apprentice will have with you

Mechanic/Inspector – The apprentice will spend most of the first year off-site gaining basic qualifications (an NC and an SVQ2).  The rest of the apprenticeship will be spent gaining further qualifications (an HNC and an SVQ3) and learning their trade.  They’ll do this by working closely with experienced mechanics/inspectors and attending college on a day-release basis, learning to use technical data to help in the diagnosis and repair of problems and gaining hands-on experience of overhauling and repairing the aero engine nacelle components we work on.  The apprentice will rotate through various work areas to gain more experience and a wider understanding of the business in general.

Business Apprentice – This is a three-year programme with the apprentice typically spending six months in each team they visit, for example, HR, Commercial and Finance.  During this time, they will be given a project which relates to that particular area and also the qualifications they are studying towards.  These qualifications will be an HNC at college on a day-release basis and an SVQ3.  The apprentice will spend the first two years rotating through four areas then specialising in one particular area for their final year.  They will experience a wide variety of tasks in their rotations and will learn about the business.

What skills and qualities does an apprentice bring to your team?

Enthusiasm along with an eagerness to learn and develop.

Why do you believe apprenticeships are a great way to build your team?

An apprenticeship allows you to grow with your company, earning and learning along the way.  They experience many different areas of the business and tasks.  This gives them much more comprehension about business in general and their employer in particular.  All of this leads to a competent, well-rounded, employee that has the potential to slot into numerous areas if required.

Can you share a success story about one of your apprentices?

An apprentice that started in 1998, Derek Mackin, is now a Business Unit Leader of a well-performing product team.  Derek became a fully-qualified Mechanic/Inspector upon completion of his apprenticeship and moved into a supervisory position a few years later.  He then took on a customer-facing role to increase his commercial knowledge and vision.  He was promoted to Business Unit Leader a few years after that.  Derek started with us as a school-leaver and he now heads one of the busiest teams in the company.

Meet the Apprentice – Eva Mackie, EGGER (UK) Limited, Barony Plant

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

Last up this week, we have Eva Mackie from EGGER (UK) Limited.


2.JPGEva was a dental nurse for four years before becoming an Environmental Laboratory Technician Apprentice with EGGER (UK) Limited at the Barony plant in Auchinleck, Ayrshire.

She began her apprenticeship in August 2016 and is delighted to have made the decision to change career paths when she did.

Eva, 22, said: “I just fancied a total change. I was bored, I didn’t like my job anymore and when I saw this opportunity I thought ‘I like the sound of that’.

“After my first day here, I remember going home and thinking to myself ‘oh no, what have I done’. From the second day onwards, however, that completely changed.  I’ve learned so much and would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone.”

EGGER (UK) Limited’s, Barony plant is a modern, hi-tech chipboard plant which employs over 115 people.

The company has a well-developed apprenticeship scheme, and recruits mechanical and electrical apprentices annually.  However, this is the first time they have employed a laboratory apprentice.

Eva said; “Everyone on the site knows that I’m the first apprentice in the lab, so they always go out of their way to help me. I can ask anybody anything.

“My job involves testing the different surfaces, which I test for moistures, densities and sieves. We get samples every day from the water outlet at the front of the factory, which we are testing for ammonium, formaldehyde, COD and phosphate. We run these tests to ensure we are within the regulations with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

“I see this as a long term career with a stable and sustainable company. There are plenty of opportunities to develop, gain extra training and progress my career.”

Eva is supervised by Wendy Cumming, Quality and Environmental Controller, who Eva calls “a massive help”.

Wendy said; “Eva is a breath of fresh air who is keen and quick at learning, which is important in this job as no two days are ever the same. It’s good to see another female in the production area too.

“Apprenticeships are very important. This is the first year we have had a lab apprentice and it is great to see the Barony apprenticeship scheme developing. In order to support succession planning we need the apprentices of today to undertake our specialist roles of tomorrow, to be more diverse and ultimately they are the future of EGGER.”

A growing demand for digital skills

Stuart Cree, Education Contracts Manager attended the SCDI Skills Summit 2017 at Microsoft in Edinburgh as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week.  One of the key messages was about how improved digital skills would boost the Scottish economy and allow us to be more competitive. As Stuart reflects on the summit, he considers what this means for our Modern Apprenticeship programmes and how the College is responding to the growing demand for digital skills by organising a digital conference.

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The SCDI Skills Summit 2017 was a very inspiring event and I was particularly interested to hear from Dr Jim Hamill, Director of Future Digital Leaders. He highlighted the growing demand for digital skills and how automation and new technology will transform the workplace of the future. Many jobs we do today will have a digital element going forward. Skill sets at all levels will be impacted. Therefore, we need to prepare young people for the changing labour market through acquiring new and contemporary skills.

Dr Hamill predicted that nearly all job roles in 2020 will require digital skills to some extent, even very manual occupations such as construction will incorporate increasing elements of ICT. Digital skills will increasingly be seen as a fundamental and integral component of the Modern Apprenticeship frameworks offered by the College. The content of the College’s MA programmes will be required to adapt to stay relevant to the needs of the labour market and to the changes occurring in the workplace. The College’s overall portfolio of Modern Apprenticeship frameworks may not change dramatically in the short to medium term, but the content of the programmes will undoubtedly be transformed by the introduction of new technologies.

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Another key speaker was Maggie Morrison from CGI, a global business who provide end-to-end IT and business process services. She said, “Improved digital skills would boost the Scottish economy and allow us to compete with global leaders such as Singapore.”

Interestingly, these findings will be covered in a conference we are organising on 21 March which is called Ayrshire Bytes: Data Changes Everything. The conference is part of Global DataFest 2017, a week of activities focused on digital innovation organised by The Data Lab, one of eight innovation centres funded by the Scottish Funding Council.

We have been exploring how we might engage with The Data Lab for the benefit of our students. The Ayrshire Bytes conference will present a range of perspectives on digital innovation and best practice, and showcase Scotland’s leading role in this area.

Digital is disrupting how we do business and, to be sustainable and innovative in this information age, businesses need to embrace the changes arising from developments in digital technology. This conference is a timely opportunity to consider how to ensure these changes convert into opportunities.

Bringing together leading experts from the public and private sectors, 150 delegates will be able to explore big data, predictive analytics and cyber security so that they can understand how to derive business intelligence from data.

Ayrshire Bytes will be led by one of Scotland’s leading digital experts – Caroline Stuart, who will ensure that participants derive maximum benefit from a range of speakers such as:

  • Gillian Docherty, Chief Executive of The Data Lab
  • Brendan Faulds, Associate Director at NHS National Services Scotland
  • Vicky Brock, Chief Executive of Clear Returns
  • Daniel Macintyre, Senior Manager, Glasgow Tourism Strategy
  • Craig Hume, Managing Director of Utopia Computers
  • Richard Millar, Senior Engineer of Spirit AeroSystems

Tickets are free and available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/datafest-2017-ayrshire-bytes-data-changes-everything-tickets-31511835749

Are you concerned about digital disruption? Will your skills need to change? Have you thought about the impact of digital on your business? Come along to our conference and find out why digital is such a big deal!

A day in the life of an apprentice … Part five

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

It’s now day five of the series, and Catriona is heading to the College Development Network Marketing awards tonight.


This morning I met with Gordon Hunt, who is the Vice Chair of the Ayrshire College Foundation which funds my apprenticeship. The Ayrshire College Foundation (ACF) exists to support Ayrshire-based projects that provide educational opportunities for all age groups.

Jennifer, who is the College’s Digital Marketing Officer, and myself have been working on a new website for the ACF, you can access at http://ayrshirecollegefoundation.weebly.com/

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The purpose of today’s meeting is to interview Gordon for my blog series “Meet the Trustee”. The last trustee I interviewed was Margaret Harper who is the Depute Head of Grange Academy. She told me a bit about her background and why she got involved with the Ayrshire College Foundation and you can read that blog at: https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/guest-post-margaret-harper-ayrshire-college-foundation-trustee/

I arrive back at the office in the afternoon and begin working on some of my apprenticeship learning outcomes. This week I’ve been working on a unit called “The Principles of Marketing and Evaluation.” I’ve been gathering evidence to present to my line manager Shelagh, and hopefully this that will be me finished this unit.

Tonight the marketing team is travelling to Edinburgh for the College Development Network Marketing Awards where Ayrshire College is a finalist in the PR & Communications and Digital Marketing categories, as well as being shortlisted twice in the Events category.

In preparation for our night at the awards ceremony, the marketing team has booked in to the College’s training salon for blow-dries and hair-ups. It is great having these amazing facilities on campus and both the training salon and the You. Salon are open to students, staff and the public. You can more information on Facebook @yousalon.

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Remember to check back tomorrow to see how we get on at the CDN awards!

 

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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

A day in the life of an apprentice … Part four

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

It’s now day four of the series, and Catriona is working on a photo shoot with Guy Hinks visiting Kilwinning and Irvine campuses.

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Today I am working alongside photographer Guy Hinks to capture images for some artwork to display around the College. I have been briefed by Lynn, our graphic designer on what kind of images she would like to get from today. Guy and I are going to visit various areas in the College today including, Early Years, Social Science, Environmental Science, Business/Administration, HIVE, Supported Education and Hair, Beauty, Make-Up and Complementary Therapies.

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Prior to today, I had to email lecturers to arrange the photo shoot because I had to ensure that the students knew we were coming. I also had to print enough model release forms to give to students so that we have permission to use their photos. Finally, I drew up a timetable for each area. It’s important to stick to a tight schedule to ensure we are able to visit all areas we have in our plan.

I had to think of lots of other things whilst Guy was taking the photos, for example, making sure the working environments were all tidy and that students were wearing appropriate protective clothing for their area. It has been a really busy day, but a great feeling of achievement seeing the end result.

While I’m at the Irvine Campus for the photo shoot, I have arranged a meeting with class rep, Alen McKillop to take a video of him for our #HowToAC video series. For these videos we are asking students to show us how to do some handy things related to their course. For example, we had a motor vehicle student showing us how to check your car oil levels and a care student showing us how to perform CPR. For Alen’s video we are going to do a sport-related video – keep an eye on our social media pages for that!

Tomorrow I am meeting with Gordon Hunt from UWS, who is one of the trustees on the Ayrshire College Foundation. I have prepared some questions and I am going to interview him about his career and why he became a trustee.

International Women’s Day – Let’s celebrate by taking those ideas forward!

Melissa is the Programme Executive for Bridge 2 Business covering Ayrshire College. The programme promotes enterprise and aims to give students the opportunity to develop enterprise skills and to encourage them to start their own business by giving them the necessary tools. Today Melissa is sharing with us how she “fell” into enterprise, how women have inspired her along the way and how with the help of Bridge 2 Business you can turn those little business ideas in your head into reality. 

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Eighteen months ago, I sent a text to my friend Christina. That simple text started a series of events that practically changed the course of my life – to be more specific, my career!

One night, as I was perusing my university website, I came across a funding opportunity for projects and couldn’t look away. I couldn’t just close that tab and move over to Netflix. I looked at the announcement for a while and sent a text to my friend telling her about the funding and asking if she would be interested in doing a project together. At that time I did not know what it would be.

Christina and I met up for a coffee, started brainstorming, shaped our abstract ideas into a concrete project and LEVEL-UP! A two-day skills development conference, was born. (This is a very simplified version of the events, believe me there was a lot more planning, hesitations and “why should we do this?” involved.)

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LEVEL-UP! 2016 Organising Committee

The conference was a success and last month – one year after the first edition of our conference, a second edition was completed and we sent the papers off to register our company. Oh – and we both got jobs with Bridge 2 Business thanks to the skills we gained by undertaking the project. Which leads me to my next point:

I am an entrepreneur

A fancy word of French origin (at least I think it’s French) that for a long time I could not relate to at all. Mainly because that word seemed so foreign to me and its “sibling” term “businessman” made me think of older men in suits ready to board into the business class of BA flights, so they could get to their next big meeting. However, the reality is very different. What helped me realise this, was seeing the different shapes and forms an entrepreneur can take. They can be any gender, and of all ages. I would never in a million years have seen myself as someone who would own a business with other people or ever think I would be someone that could potentially be her own boss.  (There is still a long way to go until I will be my own boss full-time but at least for some time during the week, I am).

Something that really stuck with me along the way, were the amazing women I have met since starting this adventure. I am not only saying this because it is International Women’s Day and we are supposed to be focusing on the work of women. I have been inspired by so many women and not only by their achievements but by the way they lead their own path, the way they present their ideas, the way they are approachable, friendly and awesome. They helped me think that I could indeed take on any quest and define myself as an entrepreneur.

Anyway. So what? Why would this matter to you?

Well, the first message of Bridge 2 Business is to inspire. Hopefully, with this blog post, you are able to see a different aspect of what it is to be an entrepreneur or to have an entrepreneurial mindset. It doesn’t need to be something big or exceptional, it is mainly about believing in your ideas and putting them into action. Taking those little risks in life that we know will make the big difference. It can also be as simple as a text (and follow-up work – lots of it!).

Action is key. Even if you have no idea where to start or how to do it, taking that one step forward will bring you closer to the goal. So don’t just brush off your ideas or think they are silly. Don’t let hesitations or insecurities prevent you from expressing your ideas.

If you want to read about awesome entrepreneurs around Scotland, have a look at the Bridge 2 Business website.

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Bridge 2 Business is now officially running in Ayrshire College. If you have an idea for a business or want to take on a project, but have no clue how to get started, this is where we can help. We all have to start somewhere and seeking the right support and connections is the first step! 

 If you want to know more about the programme visit our website or contact Melissa directly melissa.estima@yes.org.uk.