Business student sets out vision for the Alloway Tunnel

April 19, 2023 - Jane Moore

Ayrshire College has linked with the Alloway Railway Tunnel (ART), providing opportunities for students to gain relevant work experience to help them get started on their career path.

HNC Business with Management student, Lewis Connor has been helping to organise the Alloway Tunnel project management. Lewis volunteered with ART, helping to create a business plan, and is now one of their trustees.

                                                                (Image: Alasdair MacLeod/Ayrshire Post)

We asked Lewis about his time at Ayrshire College and his experience on the Art project.  

I’ve always had a deep passion for business, and an unwavering entrepreneurial spirit. It has always been my ambition to start my own business. The Business with Management course at Ayrshire College seemed the logical ‘next-step’ to lay the groundwork for a career in business, enabling me to widen my skillset and entrepreneurial thinking. 

Tell us about your experience on the course and how it has motivated you? 

What a journey it was… When I enrolled back in 2020, we were in the midst of a global pandemic. In such circumstances, the College delivered a student experience that was second to none. All the lecturers and teaching staff remained super approachable, and were there to support me at every turn. I had the chance, not only to develop my theoretical and soft skills, but also to gain practical experience in a local technology start-up, an experience that has shaped me profoundly. In terms of motivation, the Ayrshire College team has instilled in me a ‘can do attitude’… a quality I cherish and that characterises my approach to learning. 

What motivated you to get involved with the ART project? 

I heard about the ART project through the college grapevine, and was keen to be involved at the outset. As a regular tunnel user, I had first-hand awareness of its short fallings, and was inspired by the trust’s community-led aspirations. As a student I felt I could provide a perspective that complements the breadth of experience across the board, and support the turnaround of a community asset that was in dire straits! 

What has been the main benefits of this practical learning experience? 

Alongside the opportunity to develop key business skills and life-long friendships, the feeling of leaving a positive imprint in the local community has been unparalleled. A chance to inject a bit of positivity into people’s day is a pleasure I never take for granted. 

Since completing your course at college, what are you doing now? 

I have started a Business Management degree at Glasgow Caledonian University, with direct entry into third year. I also lead a social innovation society on campus called Enactus GCU – where students draw on entrepreneurial thinking to co-create social projects that add value; or as we like to put it… change the world. 

What are your career aspirations? 

Since an early age, I have always envisaged that I will one day run my own successful business. This remains at the forefront of any career-related aspirations. 

How has the ART project work experience opportunity helped you to get started in your career? 

Alongside a place to put my existing skills to the test, the ART project offered a real platform to ‘learn by doing’ through various duties and tasks I’ve undertaken. I would also say I’ve learned an equal amount from being a ‘fly on the wall’. Being the youngest on the board, having the chance to listen to experienced board members has been invaluable, and given me a fantastic kick-start for my career. 

What tips or advice do you have for current or future business students? 

I would pass on three snippets of advice for anyone interested in business. These definitely worked for me!

  • To go beyond the surface of what you learn, and bring this into classes: For me this would involve reading up on the latest news in relation to business, politics or economics, and tying it to the respective module.
  • See the bigger picture in everything: As an aspiring businessperson, it is important to have an all-round outlook to help make informed decisions. The more awareness you have, the greater your competitive edge in business will be.
  • Open doors: A major part of my college education was engaging in extra-curricular activity. If you see an opportunity presenting itself, get in there fast… you never know what you might learn or where it might lead!

To apply for Business courses starting in August 2023 click here.

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