Project SEARCH course comes to a successful end

Project SEARCH course comes to a successful end

The latest group of students have graduated from Ayrshire College’s Project SEARCH course, that operates from Culzean Castle Country Park in partnership with National Trust Scotland and Girvan Youth Trust.

Project SEARCH gives young people the opportunity to work on a range of projects at the National Trust for Scotland site, equipping them with the transferable skills needed for entering the workplace.

The Project SEARCH course runs from February to October and is for anyone aged 17-29 in South Ayrshire who feels they have a barrier to learning. Students on the course gain employability skills by taking part in rotational work placements, in areas such as retail, gardening and housekeeping.

The students, or interns as they are known around the site, are mentored along the way, receiving support and helpful feedback from job coaches and Ayrshire College’s Employability and Engagement Officer. They are then supported to find work once the programme finishes – with Russell from this year’s group already securing employment with Asda.

Some of the students from this year’s course recently gathered at Culzean Castle Country Park’s Stone Barn for an emotional send off, featuring speeches from DFN Project SEARCH’s Director & Programme Specialist Carmel McKeogh, Ayrshire College’s Head of Essential Skills Greg Cassidy, as well as Iain Govan and Ashleigh Evans, the Head Gardener and Ranger at Culzean Castle Country Park.

The interns also delivered presentations about their time on the course.

Ross Thomson, one of the interns on this year’s Project SEARCH course, said: “This graduation ceremony has been quite emotional for some. It’s been good to see everyone off. Culzean Castle is an absolutely amazing place to work, the people and the staff are brilliant. I would tell anyone thinking about taking the opportunity to come do this course to do it.”

Mark MacMillan, Employability and Engagement Officer at Ayrshire College, said: “Our staff recognise that there has been a huge effort from our interns this year, especially in light of the gloomy outlook around the country during these uncertain times.

“Their work ethics have been incredible throughout the course and we think they should be very proud of themselves for what they have achieved. They have so much to take away from the experience, especially in how well they came together to work as a team.

“Now we look forward to recruiting for the next programme, due to start in February 2022.”

Information on the next Project SEARCH course can be found on Ayrshire College’s website, or if you are interested in finding out more about whether this course is right for you, you can get in touch directly with the team on 01655 884518.

9 November 2021

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