Successful night for Ayrshire College at CDN Awards

Successful night for Ayrshire College at CDN Awards

Ayrshire College has won the Inclusive College Award at the College Development Network (CDN) College Awards 2021 for its popular podcast Rockpool Podcasts.

The CDN College Awards celebrate the talent, skills and achievements of Scotland’s colleges, their staff and learners.

Created, hosted and produced by John McBlain, Music, Performance and Media Lecturer, and co-hosted by Sara Turkington, Equality and Inclusion Advisor, and Joe Smith, HN Music and Sound Production student, Rockpool Podcasts is a variety podcast show featuring a mix of interviews, special guests, stand-alone episodes, themed episodes, and episodes produced by students. 

It was recognised on Thursday night as being an excellent example of mainstreaming equality in a highly innovative way for it is embedded in course delivery; supports the advancement of equality of opportunity; and seeks to foster good relations.

Rockpool Podcasts has become an important asset to the College in a time, because of the current pandemic, of huge disruption to its community cohesion and individuals sense of belonging.  It has become an important asset because, it enables students and staff to establish and maintain a connection with the College community and confirms and reinforces the values, ethos, culture and diversity of the College. 

Having now released 150 episodes on Spotify since it’s first in November 2021, John McBlain said of the award win: “This recognition has been an absolute highlight of a difficult and challenging two years for the whole sector, and on a personal basis. I've put in a lot of hard work into this during a difficult period where I suffered a tragic loss at the start of semester one.

“It's an amazing accolade for Ayrshire College. Although I kickstarted the podcast, it has grown to become embedded into the curriculum and now plays a key part of Ayrshire College's ethos of mainstreaming equality. I’d just like to say a huge thank you to the special guests we’ve had on Rockpool Podcasts, to the students who have got involved, and to the friends of the pod who always support and champion us."

A special 150th episode celebrating the award win is now available to listen to on Spotify. The episode features interviews with the hosts and performers, as well as voicemails of congratulations from the likes of Ayrshire College Principal Carol Turnbull, Hospitality Industry Trust’s David Cochrane MBE, RuPaul’s Drag Race UK’s Divina de Campo and Charlie Harding, host of the ‘Switched on Pop’ podcast. Find out more about Rockpool Podcasts on Twitter at @rockpoolpod or by clicking here.

Earlier in the CDN College Awards ceremony, Ayrshire College was commended in the College Community Learning Award category for its Peer Programme.

The Peer Programme is an innovative collaboration between Ayrshire College and its partners in the community with the aim of achieving sustainable job outcomes and better lives for its participants.

Ayrshire College and South Ayrshire Council’s Alcohol and Drug Partnership have created a course that has turned people’s lives around and given them the opportunity to give back to the community using the benefit of their lived experience.

The CDN Awards ceremony was a brilliant night for students past and present at Ayrshire College, as former Britain’s Got Talent winner and graduate of Ayrshire College Jai McDowall, was inducted into the College Hall of Fame. While two future superstars Hannah Ross and Ian Sloan performed their songs for those in attendance.

The College Hall of Fame highlights and recognises the outstanding contribution that college graduates and staff make to society and the economy; and demonstrates the variety of pathways to success from college. Jai McDowall is the seventh inductee.

Last year Jai helped Ayrshire College release the charity single ‘Don’t forget who you are’, written by student Leah Batty, to highlight student mental health as part of the College’s award winning Passing Positivity work. He said: “It’s a complete honour to receive this award, and to be inducted into the College Hall of Fame. It’s been an absolute pleasure to reconnect with the college as part of the Passing Positivity campaign.”

Hannah Ross said of her performance in front of the CDN Awards attendees: “It’s been the highlight of our time at the college. We got the chance to network with some people we’d never normally get the chance to speak to, and got some lovely feedback on our performance.”

Ian Sloan added: “It was surreal. I’ve never experienced anything like that before. It was just brilliant to be able to perform at such a prestigious event.”

17 December 2021

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