Best Job in the World

December 12, 2019 - Shelagh Mclachlan

November 2019 is a milestone for Shelagh McLachlan, Head of Marketing and Front of House as she celebrates 30 years working at Ayr / Ayrshire College. Shelagh worked as a Business Lecturer for fifteen years, and then developed her career as a Marketing Manager.  Here she reflects on her career and passion for the College and all things marketing.

I love my job! I always have, which is just as well as I spend a lot of time working hard at it. But I’ve always thought I am lucky to be doing a job I am passionate about, surrounded by a great team of people, and in a beautiful part of the country. That’s so important because it gets me up in the morning knowing that the day ahead will be enjoyable. (OK most days)

My College job has always been about helping people start their career and to help them believe in themselves. As a lecturer, it was about spotting potential in a student, and nurturing them to develop their skills and confidence. I always cared that they had a great learning experience in my class and they left prepared for the workplace, with skills they could put into practice straight away. As Head of Marketing I lead my team to inspire people to #ChooseCollege to start their career. College can change your life - and I enjoy hearing all the stories showing the difference it has made to so many.

I suppose my love of colleges started with my own experience leaving school and completing a NC, HNC and HND in Communication Studies, and finally finding something I was good at. (I also found my husband!) Marketing was my favourite subject, and all these years later, I am still loving learning new things about marketing. For me it’s all about the creativity in storytelling.

The Highlights

Most exciting: being part of a team organising trips to New York and Rome for our Tourism students.

Unforgettable: Introducing HNC Marketing students to the theatre for the first time by experiencing Phantom of the Opera, and learning how to promote a West End show. A defining moment in my teaching career where I understood the power of education.

HNC Marketing Class - sometime in 90's at Craigie Campus

                         HNC Marketing Class – sometime in 90’s at Craigie Campus

Hilarious: arranging a weekend team building trip for Management students to Blairquhan Castle.

Winning our first award: Creating ‘my’ first prospectus and winning a CDN Gold Award and receiving national recognition for our work.

Nearly killed me – but an amazing achievement: organising our first graduation ceremony in 2005. Graduation is still the most rewarding part of my job where we celebrate student success.

                                  Wendy McFarland, me and Jane Kerr, Ayr Campus 2005

Greatest opportunity: leading the team to create the brand of Ayrshire College.

Proudest moment: achieving an MSc International Marketing with distinction – first person in my family to go to university.

Scariest moment: experiencing culture shock when visiting India and Hong Kong to develop our international student market.

Biggest Difference since 1989

It’s got to be technology!


Also looking back at these photos - the redhead days are gone!

What hasn’t changed since 1989?

The reasons why people come to college and despite all the technology, word of mouth is still the most effective promotion. But we still need a wide range of marketing materials to help people make an informed decision about their career. This year our team created a fantastic publication to help people choose a career that’s right for them.


What does success look like?

If you do what you love, and are passionate about it, and can help other people – that’s success for me.

Future Aspirations

I’m really interested in enterprise and like to get involved in Young Enterprise activities. I am also keen to develop our young workforce and enjoy creating opportunities for work experience including internships and Foundation Apprenticeships. I want to do all I can to encourage people into the world of business and marketing. I still love learning, and every day’s a school day in my job! Right now I’m learning EBIS (an online procurement package), how to make our website more accessible, how to use Adobe Spark, and how to manage my priorities for better results!

Want my job?

Sorry I’m, not going anywhere just yet! I may have exaggerated it’s the best job in the world, but working for a College is definitely a great career move. The pay and pensions are good, you have great holidays, it’s a nice environment to work in, and if you are lucky enough to choose Ayrshire – I have not exaggerated the beauty of the south west coast of Scotland nor the people - they are just the best! (Here’s a link to our current vacancies if you are interested in working with us )

I am off to celebrate now – taking the day off to indulge in some shopping therapy and treating my husband to a wonderful dinner – he deserves it! He’s been my back stage manager, looking after me and our girls all these years, cooking my dinner every night and listening to my stories each day.

#StartHereGoAnywhere    #ChooseCollege    #ThisAyrshireGirlCan    #NeverTooLateToLearn

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