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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Swapping Ibiza summers for Instagram and social media, we talk to Catriona about what it’s like to be a Modern Apprentice for ACF.
What are you doing for the Ayrshire College Foundation? I am working alongside the Ayrshire College Foundation during my apprenticeship to help them set-up a new website and I’ll also be helping them to run their social media accounts. This will also benefit me as I’ll be learning new skills as I work.
Have you enjoyed working with the Ayrshire College Foundation so far? Yes, it’s still early days at the moment but I am looking forward to working with ACF on various projects.
What attracted you to this job? When I saw the job advertised I thought it sounded really interesting and something I would enjoy learning more about. I jumped at the opportunity of an apprenticeship as I believe they can provide great opportunities, especially for someone like me who wants to gain qualifications while still working, instead of going to college or university. Digital Marketing is an area which is growing rapidly, so I feel really lucky to have got this job.
What were you doing before you started with Ayrshire College Foundation? I’ve done a few different things since leaving school. Immediately after leaving, I worked in the family business, a busy seaside café. After a year there, I decided to pack up and move to Spain, securing a summer job in a Scottish bar in Ibiza! I worked there for two seasons, returning home during winter and working in the café. After that, I decided to go travelling so I went to Thailand. I volunteered in a school, teaching English and I lived with a Thai family in a small village in Chiang Rai. I then went backpacking round Southern Thailand and Australia. When I returned to the UK it was summer time, so I finished off my travels with one last summer in Ibiza. Before applying for this apprenticeship I was working as a Barista Maestro in Costa Coffee.
Why is it important for the Ayrshire College Foundation to have its own website/social media feeds etc.? It’s important because it allows the ACF to show off the great work they are doing in the community.