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Scotland’s First Minister opens new Ayrshire College campus

Scotland’s First Minister opens new Ayrshire College campus

Ayrshire College’s new £53m Kilmarnock Campus has been officially opened by the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Over 200 guests celebrated this milestone event at a special ceremony on 12 December 2016 where they heard the First Minister describe the state-of-the-art facilities as “absolutely stunning”.

The First Minister toured the campus with College Chair Willie Mackie and Principal Heather Dunk. She met students and staff from all areas of the College, as well as some of the partners who work with them.

The tour included a visit to the ‘You’ salon and the ‘Salt and Barrel’ training restaurant. Pupils from Cumnock Academy showed the First Minister the seating pods they designed, which have been very popular with students.

The First Minister met sport and fitness students in the new Health and Wellbeing Centre, where they work with partners to support students and promote healthy lifestyles. She also met partners from East Ayrshire’s Health and Social Care Partnership, the Open University, Police Scotland and NHS Ayrshire & Arran.

Students and STEM apprentices spoke with the First Minister and presented her with gifts they had made to mark this historic occasion.

Speaking in front of the invited audience, the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said

“Students are clearly thriving in this brand new campus, and they will soon form part of a highly skilled workforce that is tailored for the regional economy.

“I met with students and Modern Apprentices who have been in the campus since October, and their enthusiasm for their chosen field is palpable. This demonstrates how a modern, fit-for-purpose campus and its facilities can truly inspire learning.  

“Colleges are vital to our economic growth and success. Our nationwide investment in colleges in support of the major reform programme, coupled with our Modern Apprenticeship Programme, is helping to reduce unemployment among young people, and at this critical point in their lives, giving them meaningful aspirations for their futures.”

Willie Mackie, Chair of Ayrshire College, said

"This new campus in Kilmarnock is a major boost for regeneration and vibrancy in East Ayrshire. Over 5,000 students will attend the new campus each year, where they will learn industry recognised skills in industry relevant facilities, using industry leading equipment.

"I would like to applaud the outstanding leadership from Heather Dunk and her team which has resulted in a building which, as well as transforming the physical landscape of Kilmarnock, will help transform Ayrshire's economy."  

Heather Dunk OBE, Principal of Ayrshire College, said

“At Ayrshire College our vision is to raise aspirations, inspire achievement and increase opportunities. We are supporting the delivery of that vision with innovative and exciting learning spaces like our new campus in Kilmarnock, and I am very proud of everyone who helped make our dream for this world-class building a reality.

“The College is making a real difference to people’s lives in Ayrshire, and I have no doubt that students, local communities and employers will reap the benefits of our unrivalled facilities for many years to come.”

Holly Bates, Student President, said

“Now that students are settled into their new campus, it’s clear that they are experiencing the difference that this fantastic new building is making to their learning. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and students are enjoying the dynamic learning environment.”

John Kemp, Interim Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council, said

“The progress of this building to a thriving campus hosting over 5,000 students has been amazing. Its sector-leading facilities in areas like sport and science, technology and engineering, as well as a health and wellbeing centre, give students a modern and inspiring environment for learning and skills.

“The campus has already transformed the town and improved employment and training opportunities for the community and I’m delighted that the Scottish Funding Council played a part in it.”

The new campus on Hill Street was opened to students on 24 October 2016. The campus has already created opportunities for students, including apprenticeships and work placements.

Over 2,000 people took the opportunity to visit the campus on its ‘Community Open Day’ on 12 November 2016. 

12 December 2016

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