Another successful Project Search programme finishes at Culzean Castle

Another successful Project Search programme finishes at Culzean Castle

Project Search students from Ayrshire College have held a graduation ceremony to celebrate the successful completion of the programme – the only of its kind in the UK to be delivered at a National Trust site.

The Project Search course runs at Culzean Castle from February to October and is for anyone aged 17-29 in South Ayrshire who feels they have a barrier to learning. The course is delivered in partnership between Ayrshire College, the Girvan Youth Trust and the National Trust for Scotland and prepares students for employment through a series of work placements at the site.

The six students who completed the 2022 programme were David Alexander, Kieran Fox, Logan Tyler Hanley, Brandon Hempkin, Kyle Horrigan, and Leo Paton.

They will now be supported as they look for employment opportunities where they can utilise the transferable skills they have gained on the course.

David Alexander has already secured a job as a Modern Apprentice Outdoor Instructor with the Dolphin House Outdoor Education Centre. He spoke at the graduation ceremony, detailing how the Project Search course gave him the confidence and the skills to go for the position and how proud he is of the work he is doing.

David said: “My role is to assist the full-time instructors as much as possible. I’ve just completed a first aid course and can help deliver any paddle-based water activity. Helping others and seeing them smile as they try an activity for the first time is so contagious.”

Kyle Horrigan also spoke at the event about his journey, saying: “I’ve learned a lot about myself, a lot I needed to know. I put myself out of my comfort zone working in the castle, speaking to members of the public and giving out information. I think everyone could say they’ve gained a lot from this course.”

The students involved in this year’s programme began the course with a project of restoring and relaying a 300-metre-long coal path, under the tutelage of Iain Govan, head gardener at Culzean Castle and Country Park.

They then enjoyed work placements within the castle grounds, working in the gift shop, the gardens, the café, offering castle tours and working with the park rangers.

Yvonne McGill, Project Co-ordinator at Girvan Youth Trust, said of this year’s programme: “It has been amazing to see how the interns have grown and developed throughout their time at Project SEARCH and I look forward to learning about the employment opportunities this experience will lead to.”

Sonia Connell, Job Coach at Girvan Youth Trust, added: "It's a joy to see these young people develop skills, as well as build confidence to reach their potential and find the path into sustainable employment. We could not do this without the support of our host business and the staff who mentor our interns.”

11 November 2022

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