Student wins gold at SQA Star Awards
Sport & Fitness student James O’Neill continued a busy period of Ayrshire College award wins at the 2017 SQA Star Awards in Edinburgh.
Former Irvine campus-based student James, 22 from Saltcoats, deservedly picked up the College Candidate of the Year Award. Fellow Ayrshire College student Kayleigh Haggo, 18 from Maybole, was also a finalist.
The win keeps alive the incredible streak of Ayrshire College wins in the College Candidate of the Year category. Ayrshire College has now provided the past four winners of the coveted award, and all four have been Sport & Fitness students.
Angela Alexander, a former Ayrshire College Student Association President, won in 2014 and was followed in the next two years by students Stephen Wilson, a footballer for Auchinleck Talbot, and Natasha Kerr, an East Ayrshire coach.
James O’Neill was shortlisted, and won, for his coaching efforts in the community. He is now studying at Glasgow Caledonian University for a degree in International Sports Management.
James recently spoke to the Ardrossan & Saltcoats Herald about how much he enjoyed his time at Ayrshire College.
He said “The College, they’ve modelled me. It’s not just me, I’ve seen them help other people, model them into a better person. They’re such a great, local establishment and they don’t always get the recognition for it. They’re great, specifically in sport because they get young students out in the community, get them networking. It really does a lot for you and gives you a second chance at education.”
Kayleigh was also shortlisted for the fantastic job she did coaching in Ayrshire. Kayleigh is a European Paralympic Youth Games gold medallist and was a fantastic role model and ambassador of Ayrshire College during her time on the HNC Coaching and Developing Sport course.
Kayleigh recently won the Rising Star Diversity Award at The Herald and GenAnalytics Diversity Awards 2017 and has been named in the 30 under 30 inspiring women list for 2017 by YWCA Scotland - promoting positive role models in Scotland under the age of 30.
Elsewhere at the SQA Star Awards, Ayrshire College won a Highly Commended Award in the Innovation category for its Me2u project.
Me2u is a partnership between the College, Cumnock Academy and East Ayrshire Council, that provides long-term unemployed people with an opportunity to gain SQA qualifications, while carrying out voluntary work placement over a 9 week period within a school setting.
There have been five Me2u projects delivered at Ayrshire College so far, with a 70% success rate of people into full-time employment.
8 November 2017