Meet the Kilmarnock 2018 graduation prizewinners

In the lead-up to the Kilmarnock Campus graduation we will unveil our graduation prizewinners. At the Kilmarnock graduation, there are 10 recipients in total.

Next up is Emma White, HNC Professional Cookery, who is receiving the Student of the Year – Hospitality and Tourism Award.


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After coming home from my travels in Thailand and Australia, I really wanted to change career and start my own catering business. I decided to come to college to start from scratch and get experience and knowledge of the industry.

I felt nervous as I was coming back as an older student, but as soon as I got there I knew I had made the right decision.

I learnt all aspects of cooking, starting from the basics and working my way up over the three years. I also worked in Salt & Barrel once a week with the rest of my class. We would rotate each week between working on starters, mains, desserts, and being the head chef. I also learnt how to make pastries, bread and all kinds of different desserts in the training restaurant.

I really enjoyed making desserts and sweet things, which has resulted in me making birthday cakes, which I really enjoy.

My highlight was definitely learning new skills in the kitchen and understanding how a kitchen is run, gaining experience from lots of different people as well as learning the business side of things.

I feel confident in a working kitchen, working under pressure and making all sorts of dishes I had never heard of or tried. I am now confident in the kitchen without worrying about giving myself food poisoning! I

I felt very shocked and honoured to get this award. I definitely wasn’t expecting it, I thought it was a joke at first!

I am now confident in going ahead with my new adventure and I’m excited about what’s to come.

I’ll be a full-time mum for the next year but, while having my hands full looking after my son, I will be making business plans and starting to build the foundations of our new business with my partner, who is also a chef.

I would definitely recommend this course to anyone young or older as the experience I have gained in the kitchen is amazing. Changing my career after 16 years of hairdressing is the best thing I have ever done.

#ayrshiregrads

Meet the Kilmarnock 2018 graduation prizewinners

In the lead-up to the Kilmarnock Campus graduation we will unveil our graduation prizewinners. At the Kilmarnock graduation, there are 10 recipients in total.

Next up is Shannon Nani, HND Social Sciences, who is receiving the Student of the Year – Social Sciences Award.


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I was recovering from a mental health issue before I began studying at the College. I worried that I wasn’t ready to be back in education and that I would struggle to complete my course, but I’m now in my third year of university.

I initially went to university straight from school, but I quickly realised that the course wasn’t for me. I decided to apply for the Social Science course at Ayrshire College knowing that once I completed this, I could apply to university again.

The course involved a wide variety of subjects that each taught us how and why society and social relationships work. I really enjoyed being taught by lecturers who were very knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their specific subjects as this inspired me to learn.

This course helped me overcome areas of my anxiety and I feel I have really developed as a person. I’ve also gained many transferable skills throughout the course such as historiography, research, teamwork and communication.

I have a few highlights from my time at the College, including being voted Women’s Officer with the Ayrshire College Student Association and class rep, as well as my involvement with St Mathews Food Bank.

Winning this award has given me a major increase in my confidence and my self-appreciation. It has proven to me that there is no obstacle that anyone cannot overcome with hard work and dedication. I now have the reassurance I needed to pursue my goals.

#ayrshiregrads

Meet the Kilmarnock 2018 graduation prizewinners

In the lead-up to the Kilmarnock Campus graduation we will unveil our graduation prizewinners. At the Kilmarnock graduation, there are 10 recipients in total.

Next up is Tommi McMillan Grant, HND Coaching and Developing Sport, who is receiving the Student of the Year – Sport and Fitness Award.


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I came to college straight from school. I’ve always been interested in this type of course and knew that I wanted to study something I’m interested in.

Before I came to the College, I was worried about the amount of help the lecturers would be able to give if I struggled with something or if I didn’t understand an assignment. They all want to help as much as they can, and they are genuinely interested in you succeeding. My lecturers even told me to keep in touch and to let them know what I end up doing in the future.

The course involved working in groups as well as individually, organising events and completing placements. It was also great to meet new people. I felt like part of a family by spending so much time with these people.

Throughout this course, I learned loads of new games and drills to coach children in a variety of sports that I might not have come across if I hadn’t come to this college. We also had to work as a group and come up with new drills to coach back to your class. This allowed me to see all the different types of coaching styles that there are and how each one works well for each individual.

The highlight for me was being the team leader for a group project, where we had to create, plan and organise an event. The event was on anti-sectarianism, which included a volleyball tournament, a workshop to help people understand more about sectarianism, as well as a bake sale to raise money for our chosen charity. This was my favourite part because I like organising and planning things that challenge me.

I am over the moon to have this award, I didn’t expect it. It’s a great addition to my CV and it shows that I am a hard worker and that I strive to be the best I can be.

#ayrshiregrads

Meet the Kilmarnock 2018 graduation prizewinners

In the lead-up to the Kilmarnock Campus graduation we will unveil our graduation prizewinners. At the Kilmarnock graduation, there are 10 recipients in total.

Next up is Paul Wilson, HNC Social Services, who is receiving the Student of the Year – Care Award.


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A few years ago, my doctor gave me a few years to live due to my ill health. I was suffering from asthma and depression and was also very overweight.

I was given help from a charity and I turned my life around. I lost 7 stone, took up running and totally changed my life. This year I ran the London Marathon and raised £2,000 for the charity that helped me, I gained a job in an area that I love, and I have also achieved my HNC.

Achieving my HNC is the accumulation of everything that I have done recently. It’s been an amazing journey and one that I have been even more astonished to have done due to missing so much schooling as a child because of my asthma.

My asthma is now under control due to me losing weight and keeping it off. My HNC has allowed me to get a job that I would never have got before, and it’s all down to hard work and the help that Ayrshire College and my lecturers gave me.

So thank you, you have made a middle-aged man very happy. Winning this award is simply amazing!

It will give me the confidence to go on and learn new things, and give me skills to do my job. My course gave me the skills to be able to further my own knowledge and career. It also enabled me to register with the SSSC.

This was a big challenge to undertake as I did not do too well at school, academically.

I feel that I have a new found enthusiasm for learning and I have started an honours degree with the Open University.

#ayrshiregrads

Meet the Kilmarnock 2018 graduation prizewinners

In the lead-up to the Kilmarnock Campus graduation we will unveil our graduation prizewinners. At the Kilmarnock graduation, there are 10 recipients in total.

Next up is Amy McFadzean, HNC Applied Sciences, who is receiving the Student of the Year – Engineering and Science Award.


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Before coming to college, I was a full-time single parent to my daughter. I left school with no qualifications but had always wanted to study science.

I decided to just go for it and applied for an Access to Life Sciences course in 2016. I wanted to do something for myself and make my daughter proud. I enjoyed the Access course so much that I decided to continue onto the HNC Applied Science course.

I was really shy and was nervous about coming to college and meeting new people. I had no confidence in myself so wasn’t sure if it was even the right decision. I was so worried the course would be too difficult for me.

There was a lot of lab work, such as staining bacteria in Microbiology and a few titrations, and we also studied subjects like Cell Biology and Biochemistry. Our Graded Unit involved researching a topic related to science and writing up a report on it. I loved learning about our cells and how they function.

Receiving an ‘A’ for my Graded Unit and the great friendships I’ve made during the past two years have been major highlights for me.

I couldn’t believe that I’d won this award! I’ve worked so hard and it feels great to have that acknowledged. I’m so grateful to have won it. It’ll look great on my CV and will help if I apply for placements at university too.

It’s definitely given me a reason to stop doubting myself so much.

I’m a completely different person than I was when I started the Access course. I have gained confidence in myself and have made some amazing lifelong friends. I’ve gained useful practical skills, such as how to use a pipette and how to properly write a report. These skills will no doubt benefit me at university and further on in my career.

In the future, I would absolutely love to work in scientific research. I’m going to work hard to get there.

I would absolutely recommend the college as a place of study. The lecturers are amazing and supportive, and I have thoroughly enjoyed the two years I’ve been here. I’m so glad I made the choice to study at Ayrshire College.

#ayrshiregrads