Motoring ahead at Ayrshire College

We’re running an Introduction to Motor Vehicle course from January!

We’ve asked four of our August recruits on the IMI Level 1 Light Vehicle Maintenance and Repair course to help give us a jump-start on promoting this course.

We asked them to sum up what it’s like to come to here and study in the motor vehicle workshop, and what motivated them to do so.


So sit back and relax as Caitlin Frew, Darlene Mitchell, John Paul Smith and Mackenzie Greenan, take you on the journey from applying to studying at Ayrshire College.



I’ve always had a love of finding out how stuff works and being able to fix them if they’re broken.

Ever since I was little, I’ve been around motorbikes and I’ve always loved the idea of finding out how they work.

I wasn’t really that scared about coming into a male-dominated environment because I’ve always been friends with guys more than girls my entire life.

Obviously it was still a little daunting, because I was the only girl on the course – Darlene was on the waiting list to begin with. I thought maybe none of the guys would want to talk to me and would look at me thinking I was weaker. I actually got a job beforehand so I knew what it was like to work in a garage.

When I walked in to Ayrshire College, all the guys made me feel really welcome. I’d say to any girl who might want to do this but is worried, try it anyway because it will be one of the best experiences you could do. Everyone will talk to you, make you feel welcome, and help you out.

Also the greatest thing about being a girl in a STEM course is you do have people who naturally assume you’ll be weaker, and when you prove them wrong that’s the best feeling ever!

I’d love to work with motorbikes once I’m finished here, building them up and building up cars. My wildest dream is to have my own garage. I’d love to run my own business.



My Dad’s a mechanic so I grew up with motors in my life. I used to always help him when I was younger and developed an interest from there.

I love that we have an actual garage where we can get first-hand experience of the things we’re learning in the classroom – instead of learning it and having to try it at home without someone there to help you.

When I applied I found out that Ayrshire College always puts two girls into one class if they can, which did give me a little bit of comfort knowing someone else was going to be in the same position as me. We’re happy to play a part in breaking the stereotype.

But honestly, you don’t get treated as if you’re anyone different. So I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to come because of that.

I’m looking forward to doing the full three years here at the College. My ideal job would be to become a BMW specialist, but whether that happens or not is a different story.


John Paul

I was always interested in cars and motorbikes, and liked playing with engines when I was younger.

Growing up I had motorbikes, and I’ve had a few cars. I enjoy being around them and getting my hands dirty.

The facilities we have here are second to none. The equipment and tools are all brand new from when the campus opened [in October 2016]. The lecturers are great and everyone gets on really well.

I work part-time and a big part of that is working with motorbikes. I work for a charity organisation called Action for Children. We recently got £6,000 worth of funding to do our own enterprise – getting scrapped motorbikes, fixing them up and selling them on.



I’ve just always been interested in cars. I’ve been helping my brother out with his car and it sparked a real interest.

The best part of the course I’m on is being in the garage, because it’s just like being in the workplace. The facilities are first class, we’re pretty much in a real garage.

The hope for me at the end of my three years here is that I’ll be able to work in a garage.

Apply now for our January start Introduction to Motor Vehicle course. 

Lab Technician for a week

Daisy Dudgeon is a 4th year pupil at Marr College in Troon.   Daisy would like a career in science and as part of the school’s work experience programme, she decided to spend the week working in the Science department at the Kilwinning Campus of Ayrshire College.

She tells us about her week at Ayrshire College and how it has helped her at the start of her career path.

“I went along to a recent Girls into STEM (Science,Technology, Engineering and Maths) event held at Ayrshire College, which inspired me to find out more about spending my work experience week at the College.  I already know what I want to do career-wise, but it definitely gave me more of an idea of how coming to college can help you get this kind of career.

Eventually, I would like to work in forensic science.  To be completely honest, the main reason I wanted to get into forensic science was a TV show, ‘Hawaii 5 – 0!’  It just caught my eye, and I thought, I want to do that with my life.”

Engineering and Science Technician, Christine Gorrian with Daisy

We asked Daisy what she has been doing as part of the work experience in the Kilwinning Campus science labs at Ayrshire College.

“I’ve been shadowing Engineering and Science Technician, Christine Gorrian for the week.  It’s been so busy:

Monday – we prepared the experiments for the microbiology classes, which involved making and pouring the agar. 

Tuesday – we finished off preparing more experiments and I helped to set up a spreadsheet for the equipment orders that have to be ordered for the science department.

Wednesday –in the morning I got to join the Microbiology class and we did some experiments.   In the afternoon I joined the chemistry class, they were making esters, so it was good to help them outwith that.  

Thursday – as part of the work experience we have to do a workplace project.  My project was working on the stock-take with Christine, updating, refreshing and keeping track of all the stock in the Science department.  It was a big job – I didn’t realise how much goes into running the science labs, making sure that everything is ready for the lecturers and students. 

The work experience has really helped me with the science subjects that I’m studying at school at the moment.  It’s given me more of an understanding of the more difficult stuff we are doing in chemistry at the moment.  I’ve learned a lot of things that I didn’t know and got to do experiments that I would normally only get to do in a more advanced class. 

I really enjoyed being a bit of a lab technician while I was at college.  It’s a lot different to school.  I’ve learned so much in just a few days.  I felt like I’ve been learning the whole time as well as experiencing being at work. It’s been an enjoyable experience.

I’d like to go to Strathclyde University to study and eventually get a job in forensics.”

Find out more about Science courses at Ayrshire College.


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.


Meet the Ayr 2018 graduation prizewinners

In the lead-up to the Ayr Campus graduation we will unveil our graduation prizewinners.  At the Ayr graduation, there are 15 recipients in total.

Next, is Student of the Year  – HNC Quantity Surveying Award, Lorna Jane Sullivan, HNC Quantity Surveying.

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“I decided to study this course as I had worked for a quantity surveyor in the past and was extremely interested in the work they did. I also required this qualification to be able to continue my studies.

The course involved learning about the role of a quantity surveyor within the construction industry, as well a placement within a workplace and taking part in site visits. I had to apply myself when working towards my graded unit, and I learned to manage my time better, which will help me at university.

I had the opportunity to undertake a placement with Siemens in Glasgow where I worked with other quantity surveyors in the commercial industry. This was definitely a highlight of my time with the College as I enjoyed learning that a quantity surveyor is not only construction but also within the commercial industry.

The other highlights were receiving an ‘A’ for my graded unit as well as being chosen for this award!

I am completely over the moon to have won this award and am very humbled that my lecturers felt that I deserved it and recognised my hard work. I feel that I would not have been able to achieve what I have so far without the encouragement and support from lecturers.

I have just entered second year in BA Honours in Quantity Surveying at Glasgow Caledonian University. After I graduate, I plan to be working full-time as a quantity surveyor either in construction or commercial industries.”


Meet the Ayr 2018 graduation prizewinners

In the lead-up to the Ayr Campus graduation we will unveil our graduation prizewinners.  At the Ayr graduation, there are 15 recipients in total.

Read why these students deserve special recognition.  Next up is Student of the Year for Engineering and Science, Nicola Jane MacDonald, HNC Electrical Engineering.

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“I’d always enjoyed maths and physics at school but at 17, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do as a career. After school, I chose to go on to do nursing, but after two years, I realised it wasn’t for me. Five years later I decided it was time for a change. Engineering seemed fitting as it combined both maths and problem solving. My Dad is an Electronic Engineer – maybe that’s where I get it from!

I knew before going into the course that there wouldn’t be many female students in the Electrical Engineering class.  I was one of only two women in the class, but I wouldn’t say I saw that as a concern. The percentage of women in STEM related careers is on the rise which is great and I never felt out of place.

Within the course we learned a multitude of electrical engineering topics.  Also, learning how advanced maths and physics formulae fit into real life engineering scenarios was really interesting. Andy, our lecturer, was fantastic. I’ve never met anyone as good at maths and he had a great method of teaching.

I was really surprised when I found out I had won this award. I was with my Mum at the time and she was over the moon. It’s an achievement I’m really proud of.

This award gives me an incentive to continue to work hard going forward and focus on my future. I’ll be sure to add it to my personal statement when applying for university too.

I am continuing my studies with Ayrshire College to complete the HND Electrical Engineering.  After the HND there is a direct entry into third year at Glasgow Caledonian University where I hope to finish my studies with a degree. After that I would love to be accepted onto a graduate program with a large company.”