Lynn Kelly, Programme Executive, Bridge2Business - Ayrshire College
I thought this would be an ideal time to reflect on the last eight months, since starting with Bridge 2 Business at Ayrshire College.
From innovative classroom workshops, A Nil by Mouth photography competition winner, on-going business projects with Supported Learning Students, exclusive events, exciting new collaborations with local employers, to classroom visits from Local Heroes and support organisations it has been an inspiring and enterprising year, and it’s not over yet!
An exclusive highlight was the launch of the Enterprising Students Grant, which is designed to offer Ayrshire College students a comprehensive mentoring support programme and the opportunity to apply for a grant of up to £5,000. A first for a UK College, which is non-restrictive to a student’s age, level or course area.
Since September last year, I have been privileged to meet so many inspiring and talented students who are interested in developing their enterprise skills to start up their own business. Four such students were the first to be recently awarded the 5k grant submission deadline in March. This was testament to their dedication to developing their practical skills and putting their ideas into practice, which is key to learning by doing. Each of the four students worked over 2-3 months to develop their business plan, which saw an idea progressing from a few thoughts jotted down to a completed business plan. Although the idea of completing a business plan may sound daunting, if you are passionate about your business idea and believe in the heart of the business – then anything is possible. I saw each student learn new skills and gain knowledge when preparing their business plan. The more they talked about their ideas, their confidence grew as did the scale and potential of their idea. Not all their original plans stayed on track – which is why it is so important to put your ideas into practice to then learn from the experience and adapt.
Read the links below to learn more about the students who were approved for the grant and share their personal journey into enterprise.
When you have a business idea, the quicker you can start to put that idea into practice then the sooner you will learn and develop. Over the last six months, I have worked with students on developing their practical skills, by securing work experience opportunities and exhibition stands at trade events to “sell” their business ideas and products whilst getting feedback and gaining essential practical skills.
Networking is key for developing your business idea, as you never know what collaboration opportunities are around the corner. On that note, it was encouraging to see the initial round of applicants collaborate with each other. Bryan Shaw of 18:15 Media created digital campaigns for Scott Haddow’s 11:11 Events business, and Aaron Gregory of Artificial Pathogen created branded T-shirts – all in the name of collaboration and supporting similar start-up businesses.
The original four students who have been approved for the grant have all agreed to act as mentors to give advice and support to future students who are planning to start their own business. This is an invaluable opportunity to learn and hear from students who have successfully completed the process and are still learning something new every day!
When you start to talk about your ideas, you will soon gain feedback and confidence in your ability. Self-believe is sometimes hard to achieve, but as you make progress and start to develop your skills then this adds confidence to your approach in achieving your goals.
The opportunities available now whilst studying at College are incredible. I would encourage every student to make the most of them all, and part of my job is to direct you to the right opportunities for your career and business plans. If you are interested in developing business skills, you can request for me to host a Bridge 2 Business workshop for your class or as part of an event. Equally there are on-going enterprise workshops I host for students interested in starting a business and who wish to apply for the grant, which you can request to join. If you are interested in meeting to discuss your own business plans, then this is something you can book with me anytime. You don’t need have finalised plans, or to have prepared anything – just knowing what you enjoy and how you want to develop your skills is a great starting point.
I have included more information about the Bridge 2 Business programme and a link to the website, which hosts great resource materials and all our news updates across colleges in Scotland.
At https://bridge2business.org.uk/ we practice a “Learning by Doing” model, designed to get students essential practical skills to develop their business skills. Bridge 2 Business offers college students first hand opportunities to engage with appropriate entrepreneurial role models. Role models who are relevant to college students who have an interest in setting up their own business now or in the future or for those who are looking to take enterprise skills to their workplace.
Alongside the opportunity to meet and engage with role models the programme helps connect college students with the great networks that exist in Scotland to support our much-needed start-up businesses. Networking is key for developing your business idea, and here have been several Bridge 2 Business events at the college, which has seen college students in event roles, and presenting whilst developing their networking skills.
For more information on the Bridge2business programme available to Ayrshire college students please visit http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/enterprising-student/
For information on Bridge 2 Business follow @bridge2business and visit www.bridge2business.org.uk
For direct information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Aaron Gregory, an HNC Business Management student at Ayrshire College, is one of the first to receive a grant for £5,000 from the Ayrshire College Foundation to help him start up his own business. Here is Aaron’s story.
What made you interested in enterprise activities?
I’ve always had business ideas since I was about 14. One of my first enterprises was fixing phones for my teachers. At school I joined in the Prince's Trust project and this introduced me to what was involved in running a business and the whole experience really inspired me.
I’ve always loved music, from the age of five I had my first guitar and it’s been my passion ever since. At school we formed a band called Artificial Pathogen. We’re still going and doing really well, and have played in festivals all over the UK.
What have you done since leaving school?
I have been at college doing various courses that interested me; Sound Production – which helps me with the band, Computing Science – learned how to build a website and now Business Management, to help me learn how to run a business. For me it’s all about the preparation you put in so that you are ready for the opportunities once they come along.
How did the opportunity come along to start your business?
I was down in England at a music festival and I met an African band. After the event finished they were discussing what to do with all their promotional merchandise that was left. I offered to take it all and sell it for them – which I did! They were delighted and we both won out of the deal. After that, I just carried on doing it for other bands and the business has been demand led since then.
Tell us more about your business
I aim to offer a high-quality service for merchandise design/printing and distribution. I currently offer a distribution service for bands, and in doing this I ship off orders from the UK to the USA and European countries as it is a lot cheaper to do so. I work with three bands directly, but also have access to 200 bands through another site I manage called CHUGCORE.
I have two types of customers. Firstly, the band is a customer and for these contracts I will be working with them to sell an agreed number of units of products. My other customers are those buying the products directly from e-commerce websites which I manage.
As well as the retail side of the business, I will also offer touring services, which I have done before. This involves going on tour with the band, and setting up merchandise stalls at gigs, selling and keeping a track of inventory. Anything left over after the tour would be put up on to their online store to be sold at a discounted price. The band ideally want to network after the gig and meet contacts or rest – not sell merchandise, so this is an important role to play when the band are on tour.
How has the Enterprising Students Fund helped you get your business off the ground?
Lynn Kelly, our mentor has really helped me get to where I want to be. We met once a week and she helped me put together a business plan, she introduced me to other contacts that could help and invited me along to various enterprise events to hear inspirational speakers and have an opportunity to network. I’ve also got to know some of the other students who are writing business plans, and we help each other out as each person brings a different skill set to the table.
I have been fortunate to have my funding application approved, and I’d like to thank the Ayrshire College Foundation for supporting me. The £5,000 grant will allow me to purchase the necessary equipment to print the merchandise for the clients instead of having it made from another company. This will save a lot of money and maximise profits for myself and for the bands.
What do you think makes your business unique?
I have a lot of contacts and knowledge in the metal band music scene which will help me source the best products for my customers. I can do the whole printing process myself, which means I can offer better prices and my customers only have to deal with me.
How do you plan to grow your business?
By using my network of contacts. I have a great contact in New York, he manages a record label and looks after 170 bands so I am optimistic about the potential demand for my products and services. I also think my band tour packages will be in high demand.
I am in a really happy place right now and just embracing all the opportunities I have had at college. It has given me confidence to know that I can do this and that any barriers I face can be overcome.
If you have been inspired by Aaron and would like to find out more about the Enterprising Students Fund, read more here: http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/enterprising-student/
Scott Haddow, a NC Sound Production student at Ayrshire College is one of the first cohort of students to be awarded a £5,000 grant from the Enterprising Students Fund supported by the Ayrshire College Foundation.
Here is his story.
Tell us about your business Eleven:Eleven Events
I offer a range of entertainment to bars, clubs, hotels and host private events across Ayrshire and Glasgow. Entertainment ranges from Comedy nights, Live Music evenings to Magic Shows and our very exciting new Variety Show, which has already been receiving some attention.
Besides offering entertainment for bars, club and hotels, I want to give back to local charities by running events to help raise awareness of mental health, invisible illnesses, and kids with autism in Scotland. My nephew has autism and I want to be able to help in any way I can to bring people together for great causes and raise money.
The acts I have been working with recently include: Laura B (Singer/Songwriter) from Glasgow who has recently featured on BBC One, Nicholas McDonald (Singer) Glasgow - X-Factor runner up, Steven Blair (Magician), Joe McTernan (Comedian/Actor), and Ben Davidson (Singer) from Kilwinning.
What drives you?
In the creative industry you have to make your own opportunities! I love the energy you get from an audience. I am passionate about music and helping others, so it made sense to me to create a business that uses my creative and enterprise skills to do something I love doing. When I left school I was a labourer and then trained as a fencer, but I was miserable working for others. Working for myself - I just love it. It’s a pleasure to do my work, in fact I don’t even see it as work, so I don’t mind working long hours because it’s what I want to do with my life.
What have you learned so far about being self-employed?
I love learning and to be successful you need to keep on learning and improving to be the best you can be. I have read lots of self-improvement books and the one that inspired me the most is, “The Secret” by Rhonda Burn. I have learned how to channel positivity – this was a real turning point for me.
For example, I organised an event and it did not go as planned. However I carried on and reflected on it afterwards, and learned from that experience. When you think it’s all going wrong, you still have to believe you can do it. You have got to think on your feet, be flexible and willing to change how you do things. I have also learned that networking is very important, and can help you find the contacts and information you need to be successful. I have learned that it’s fine have your head in the clouds, but it’s important to have your feet on the ground too, and it will take time to build up credibility as an events organiser.
How has the Enterprising Student Fund helped you start your business?
My mentor Lynn Kelly believed in me and helped me realise my potential, and that has had the biggest impact of all. She helped me to understand the finance and marketing side of my business, and showed me how to write a business plan. I have also enjoyed going along to various enterprise events and workshops Bridge2Business has organised, these have been inspiring.
It’s also lifted my aspirations – if I didn’t come to college, I wouldn’t be doing this now. It really has turned my life around, and got me to a better place.
The grant is fantastic and I will be buying equipment such as a PA system, microphones, lighting, projector, cameras, smoke machine and even a red carpet! This means that whatever venue I hire for my events, I know the equipment will be reliable and will enhance the show. I’d like to thank the trustees from the Ayrshire College Foundation for this fantastic opportunity.
The skills I am learning on my sound production course are great for helping me create the perfect sound for my events. I have learned how to use a mixing table to optimise the sound. I will be continuing on to the HNC Sound Production course next year, as well as running my business. It’s just three days a week, so plenty time to fit everything in.
If you have been inspired by Scott, and are interested in starting your own business, read more here about the Enterprising Students Fund. http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/enterprising-student/
Tell us about your business
1815Media is a multi-level photography and videography business which will cover corporate, private, and individual work. The business is unique because we encourage and offer work experience for the community and college students within Ayrshire. I am passionate about creating the finished product. I love working to a brief, by adding my creative flair to make the videos or photos work.
What made you decide to become self-employed?
I’ve always loved photography as my main hobby. When I left school, I went to university to do web development, but it wasn’t for me. Instead I came to college and studied HNC Media Analysis and Production where I learned about filming and editing. Now I am doing the HNC Photography course to learn technical skills for lighting, camera and editing, good people skills, and the ability to work under pressure.
I just like the idea of having my own business as I enjoy being creative and telling a story through images. Every job is different and I like meeting people and helping them to get the images/film they want.
In a busy marketplace how do you get work?
Networking provides massive opportunities. I think if you do a good job, you will get repeat business and referrals, so the quality of your work and the service you provide is vital for new business. You can’t beat word of mouth and a lot of my work comes this way as I’m asked to photograph lots of local events. Online, my Facebook page and my website work well so it’s important to keep my portfolio up to date.
What opportunities have you had since coming to college?
The lecturers have been outstanding. They helped me believe in myself and built up my confidence. They have inspired and encouraged me to go further and realise my true potential. College is a friendly, supportive place to learn and my experience here has raised my aspirations to go further and higher.
How has the Enterprising Students Fund helped you?
My Bridge2Business mentor Lynn Kelly has worked on my confidence, she is always so upbeat and happy and it’s infectious! She has taught me how to manage my time, and given me advice on how to plan my work. The whole experience has prepared me for life after college.
I am delighted to receive the £5,000 grant. The main pieces of equipment I will be buying with the funding are a new SLR camera, 3-Axis Handheld Gimbal and a Drone. With this extra equipment, I can secure more contracts. I have already had some great offers which came about from an opportunity I had through the Tom Hunter Foundation. Now I will be able to fulfil the client brief and I am excited to get started on this.
I would like to thank the Ayrshire College Foundation for believing in me and giving me this opportunity.
If you have been inspired by Bryan and would like more information on the Enterprising Students Fund, read more here: http://www1.ayrshire.ac.uk/enterprising-student/
Four talented Ayrshire College students are the first to receive grants to help them start up their own business, thanks to the generous funding from the Ayrshire College Foundation Enterprising Students Fund.
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and a brief history of your career?
I am long-time married to Karen, who is also my partner in our business. We have two boys, who are both grown up now and working within the business. Lee graduated at Herriot Watt, and has just recently returned from a two year sabbaticals traveling where he reached the delights of the far East, Australia and New Zealand. Jack has just this year graduated and is about to go traveling too – following in the footsteps of his brother.
I was educated at what was previously Ravenspark Academy in Irvine, now known as Irvine Royal Academy. I left school with a handful of ‘O levels’ and took up an apprenticeship in engineering. I attended Kilmarnock College, went onto Galashiels College in the borders then Caledonian University in Glasgow.
I worked as an engineer for about 10 years and then decided on a career change (as did Karen, who worked locally in travel). We joined Whitbread PLC as a trainee management couple and developed with them, opening and operating hotels and restaurants from Yorkshire to Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Glasgow and back to Ayrshire. We learned all aspect of hotel, restaurant and pub management. I then branched out into human resource, training, personnel and area management.
In the late nineties we decided to break out on our own and started our hospitality business, SimpsInns. The Old Loans Inn near Troon was our first property, followed by The Gailes and the rest followed. We have grown, expanded and diversified into hotels, restaurants, weddings, conferencing and banqueting and golf and leisure. All of our businesses are here, in Ayrshire.
Why did you decide to get involved with the Ayrshire College Foundation?
I was approached by John Rainey, who was the Chair of The Ayrshire College Foundation. John had been in conversation with Willie Mackie, the current chair of the Board of Management at Ayrshire College and he had suggested I may be interested in getting involved. Willie and I had worked on previous initiatives like Taste Ayrshire and the North Ayrshire Regeneration Board. I was very naive to the role and purpose of the Foundation but the more I looked into it, the more interested I became. It is a great opportunity to contribute, give something back and be part of an incredible new plan to have some of the best college facilities in Scotland. I am still in awe of the fabulous projects that have been undertaken and delivered with outstanding results. These are a great credit to the College management team and staff and not forgetting some amazing contribution from the students themselves.
Are you looking forward to this year’s Mission Discovery? What’s the highlight for you?
I can’t wait, if it is half as good as the past years, it will still be amazing and if history tells a story it’s looking to be twice as good as last year! Without a doubt the highlight is bringing together the school pupils and giving them the opportunity to interact and hear directly from astronauts and scientist from NASA. What an opportunity - to be inspired by people who have worked hard and reached the pinnacle in their chosen career! Not forgetting the fabulous competition to design a mission patch that could potentially end up in the far reaches of outer space! On a more ‘down to earth’ note, the collaboration between scientist, astronauts, students, teachers, private business and public sector is inspiring. I love the ‘can do’ attitude displayed from all involved throughout the week.
I understand the Foundation has now provided funding for various projects at Ayrshire College as part of the Innovation Fund, what advice would you give to anyone else thinking of applying to the Innovation Fund?
Everything starts with a great idea. If you are passionate and committed, go for it. Always remember to do your research, take advice and be prepared for challenges. Ask yourself, can you convince and demonstrate to others your project’s potential to succeed and if someone brought it to you, would you invest?
Reflecting on the achievements of the Ayrshire College Foundation, what are you most proud of?
I have enjoyed working with an amazing range of people from different disciplines, with a great focus and common goal. It is fantastic and fascinating to hear different perspectives on projects and then coming together in unity for the better good. Also, reflecting on the completed development and upgrades of student facilities that have been carried out across the various campuses, we now have an incredible resource across all the Ayrshire College campuses.
Can you tell me a bit about your career?
My career has been in education, primarily in the University sector. For the main part of my career, I worked as a Career Advisor at the University of Strathclyde and I finished my full time working as the Director of the University of Strathclyde’s Career Service.
It involved helping people make the best possible choices about what they wanted to do for the rest of their lives. I feel that is very important - you can be as clever as you like, but that doesn’t mean that you know what you want to do, and you can give people as much information of you like - but unless they’ve got somebody objective that can help them analyse that information, it can be a difficult decision to have to make.
I understand you’re part of the learning and teaching committee, what does this involve?
Yes, I’m the Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee which has an overview of the curriculum development plan, it keeps an eye on the College’s performance in learning and teaching, which is perhaps one of the most important things that the College does! It also receives reports from the industry programme side of the College’s work, so really everything that assures the board that the College is doing everything in its power to get the best possible outcomes for the students.
And I believe you are a board member too, this must make for a busy life! So why did you also want to get involved with the ACF?
Yes that’s correct. I joined the Foundation in 2015 when it was set up, as it was agreed that the College should nominate two board members to join. The Foundation decided that the Chair of the Board should be one of the representatives and that also, since the purpose of the Foundation was to support the College in teaching and learning, then it made sense for the person who was the Chair of the Learning and Teaching committee to be nominated, and therefore I was fortunate enough to be nominated to be part of the Foundation.
My motto is, ‘better busy than bored.’
What is the Innovation Fund and why has the Foundation created it?
This particular fund is only open to Ayrshire College staff. The Foundation can make donations to a whole manner of projects as long as they are going to enhance the quality of learning and teaching and the experience for the students at Ayrshire College. Many of the College staff have great ideas on how to improve their courses and improve their facilities, but sometimes the unavailability of relatively small amounts of cash is holding them back from making these innovations. It was therefore decided that the Foundation would set up a fund, the first part of that fund is the ‘Innovation Fund’ which was launched in August 2017 at an all staff development day at the College and almost immediately, in came twenty-four first class bids!
It was super, it shows the enthusiasm and the creativity of the staff. There is a panel, represented by the Chair of the Foundation, Tracey Stark, myself as the Chair of the Learning and Teaching Committee, the Principal of Ayrshire College, Heather Dunk and the Student President, Lainey McKinlay who review all these bids. Some have been given what they asked for almost immediately, others have been asked to develop their bids further and some have been directed to other sources of funding. Virtually all of the proposals that came forward have been assisted in some way.
What kind of things have people been applying for funding for?
Some were around giving students relevant work experience, others were around equipment which would enhance the courses and would also be letting the students have equipment which is just as good as they would find when they go to work with external employers.
What advice would you give to people who are considering submitting an application to the Ayrshire College Foundation?
They need to be clear that it meets the criteria under which the Foundation can award money and it must have a clear educational purpose. Where possible, external bids should also form some kind of connection with Ayrshire College. For example, if an organisation outside wanted to develop something like outdoor play equipment for pupils, the project could be advanced by getting some of the College’s students to help with that project. People who are bidding should also be aware that because the Foundation doesn’t have a finite sum of money, we cannot give money year on year. The money can be used to start something off, then people have to be clear about how they are going to maintain that in the future. Anyone who is thinking of making an application will get advice from the Chair of the Foundation, or indeed from any of the trustees - we don’t want people to be making bids that are ineligible from the word go.
The Ayrshire College Foundation are pleased to be able to provide funding for new facilities at Ayrshire College. Included in the upgrades is a new training restaurant, Inver. Ahead of Inver’s opening, we speak to John Govan, who is Head of Hospitality and Tourism at Ayrshire College.
Hi John, can you tell us a bit about what you do at the College.
I am Head of Hospitality and Tourism and my job is to ensure that students are on the right courses and to make sure staff have the best resources to help the students develop the skills and knowledge to be able to work anywhere in the world.
So what will the new facilities at Ayr include, and how will this benefit the students?
There will be modern facilities, which will mirror, and exceed, industry standards. It will give the students the best possible start to what is a varied, exciting and progressive career. There will be two kitchens and a training restaurant with 56 covers. Students from every hospitality course will have the chance to work in Inver, whether it’s preparing and cooking the food in the kitchen, or developing customer service skills, by providing a front of house service in the restaurant. It’s great, because the students will be getting real work experience whilst studying.
Can you tell me a bit about the new training restaurant, Inver?
Inver is a 56-cover restaurant with a modern feel and beautiful views over the River Ayr. We have called it Inver because this means the mouth of the river (from the Gaelic) which we look towards. We will be offering a mix of modern and classical dishes, with a bar to service the restaurant, so customers will be able to enjoy a beer or glass of wine along with their meal.
A preview of the beautiful new restaurant, Inver.
Will Inver be open to the public?
Yes! We want to welcome anyone who has time over lunch to enjoy good food and good service in a modern and welcoming restaurant. Whether you are looking for a nice relaxing venue to meet up with friends and family, celebrating a special day, or in need of a working lunch Inver fits the bill. We will be open initially Tuesday to Friday between 12 and 2pm. There will be special events, themed menu evenings and other services as we develop and grow. We expect to be busy so it’s advisable to book first, you will be able to do this on our website and Facebook page once they have launched, or over the phone. In the meantime, you can make any enquiries via our sister restaurant, Salt & Barrel on Ayrshire College’s Kilmarnock Campus.
Telephone: 01563 548 010
As this is a training restaurant for aspiring chefs and hospitality staff, our service may take a little longer, so please allow more time for your meal. This is also reflected in our low prices - £8.50 for three courses plus coffee.
What type of person should think about studying hospitality at Ayrshire College?
The Hospitality Industry is fast paced, modern, dynamic and exciting. It offers a wide range of possible working patterns which will vary with the branch of the industry you work in, and is one of the most sociable environments to work in. The range of jobs include the well-known roles in cooking and food and beverage service, but there are shortages of managers, supervisors, human resource and marketing specialists, trainers, finance specialists, accommodation servicing members, estates and grounds persons – and as a manager you need to have an understanding of all of these areas.
We are looking for people with great personalities who want to work with other people. Ideally we would want people with good organisational skills who love working as part of a team but also like to work on their own. It can be demanding working in hospitality but it is a modern, exciting career path that is full of possibilities. Not only is there the potential to work across Ayrshire, but a qualification in hospitality can lead you to a career that will allow you to travel and work across Scotland, the UK, and even the world.
Follow @Foundation_AC on Twitter for updates on the new restaurant, including sample menus and an official opening date.
In this blog our Digital Marketing apprentice Catriona Cook interviews Learning Resource Officer, Jamie Knox.
Can you tell me what your role is at the College and a bit about what you do?
I am a Learning Resource Officer at the Kilwinning Campus and my job is to ensure that there are adequate resources for students to use and if they are having any issues with things like IT, we’re on hand to help with that too. Throughout the day we make sure the LRC is tidy and the noise levels are kept to a reasonable level. We also want to make sure that the students using the facilities are happy.
What’s your favourite part of working in the LRC?
Definitely the daily interaction with students. Knowing that you’ve helped someone, even if it’s just a simple thing like an IT issue for example, to a student that might be a big thing. The students are always really appreciative of the work we do – so that’s nice.
Are you looking forward to the new facilities at the Kilwinning Campus? What changes will there be?
Yes I’m really excited - the whole LRC has increased in size which is great. One of the first things students will notice is that the area is going to have a lovely new glass front which I think will make the LRC more welcoming.
There is going to be a Quiet Zone, which will be a glass room where there will be individual areas to study and also a couple of group seating areas. This will be a dedicated area for students who want a quiet space to focus on their learning.
Another great addition to the LRC will be the Presentation Area which will have a large table, with a presentation screen that is IT enabled and this area will be bookable for both staff and students. It will allow the students to work on group projects together and also if they want to practice their presentations, it is a great place to do that. There will also be two Presentation Areas on the first and second floor breakout areas, again these can be booked by both staff and students.
As well as these areas, there is going to be more general study areas, and as we’ve noticed a trend with more people bringing their own devices there will be more charging areas throughout the whole LRC, including two charging tables that allow you to plug in your own devices to charge while you work.
Sounds good, is there going to be any new equipment?
Yes - students will also be able to book out one of the 60 brand new laptops we have, we’ll have an increased amount of PCs and we’re also getting two Macs which we’ve not had before – so it’s all really exciting. The Macs will be great for photography and sound production students and are a great addition to our resources.
Wow. This all sounds really exciting, what are you looking forward to the most out of all of this?
Just the fact that the whole areas is going to be bigger and we’ll be able to support even more students. There’s going to be brand new equipment and comfy furniture that will also make a huge difference. The study areas, increased charging facilities and new laptops will be a huge benefit to the students.
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In our next blog, Ayrshire College’s Digital Marketing Apprentice Catriona Cook meets Worksmart’s joinery apprentice Daniel Greig, for a chat about his apprenticeship and the work he’s doing at the College.
Catriona Cook and Daniel Greig
Can you tell me a bit about yourself and your apprenticeship?
My name is Daniel Greig, I’m 22 years old and I’m a joinery apprentice with Worksmart. It’s a four year apprenticeship and that’s me nearly finished my first year.
What did you do before your apprenticeship?
I was actually doing another apprenticeship in engineering but was unfortunately made redundant 18 months into the two year apprenticeship. I always wanted to do joinery or engineering, so when I heard Worksmart were taking on joinery apprentices I went for it.
I understand you come to Ayrshire College as part of your apprenticeship, can you tell me a bit about that?
The college is brilliant! I get to learn loads, and I go to the Ayr Campus where the facilities are amazing. At the moment I go to college for a two-week block then I’m on site for two weeks. The College is great.
What’s an average day like for you?
Every day is totally different – I don’t really have an average day. In the morning I get all my stuff together and then work on whatever task I’ve been given for the rest of the day. I’m constantly learning new things.
What have you been working on upstairs in the Dam Park building?
There’s been loads going on. We ripped out of all the old facilities, we’ve put in sheeting walls, fitted doors and are working on repairs. There are other contractors working on-site too, so we’ve been working alongside them to get the work completed on time for the staff and students returning after summer.
What’s been your favourite part of working on the new facilities at the College?
It’s good to be working on a local project. It’s nice as well that I come to this college and have been working on improving the facilities that other students will get to use. Another thing that I liked was seeing the hospitality kitchens and restaurants before we ripped everything out, and then I’ll get to see the finished result.
What do you plan on doing after your apprenticeship?
I’d love to complete my apprenticeship, get my trade and then go abroad to work. I’d love to go and work in Canada where I’ve got family. The good thing about having a trade is that you can take it anywhere.