Two innovative and exciting projects have been launched by East Ayrshire Depute Provost Claire Leitch, at Cumnock and Auchinleck Academies, each aimed at improving employment prospects for the pupils who take part in them – the first such programmes in East Ayrshire.
At Auchinleck, a Bike Maintenance Xtreme (BMX) cycle repair facility will give pupils a hands on experience of checking, repairing and maintaining bikes, while at Cumnock Academy the Nail Wonder bar sees hand and nail care combine, to offer first class manicure skills.
In addition, pupils will also be able to gain qualifications in a number of related areas with the support of the Ayrshire College – offering all pupils a win-win situation.
The formal openings were also attended by Councillor Fiona Campbell, East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning, Claire Baird, DYW Ayrshire Project Executive, Walter Smith, Chair of Prince’s Trust Ayrshire with representatives from Ayrshire College, the Prince’s Trust, DYW Ayrshire and officers from East Ayrshire Council.
The pair of pioneering projects are funded and provided by Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire (DYW) and Prince’s Trust Scotland Development Awards, through the Scottish Government’s Cash Back for Communities programme.
The funding will help develop employability skills in young people, initially providing training for over twenty pupils, but also making them sustainable ventures, ready to transfer to the new school at the new Knockroon Campus.
The Depute Provost said: “I’ve been aware of similar successful projects and was delighted to be asked to launch two of our own in East Ayrshire. I’m certain they will be a big success.
“It’s always fantastic to see the enthusiasm and commitment coming from young people, especially when a project is a bit different to school life and allows them to see potential for employment once their educational journey has ended.”
Peter Gilchrist, Cumnock Academy Executive Head Teacher agreed and added: “This a great opportunity for the young people taking part in the projects to develop confidence and other employability skills which is excellent preparation for the world of work.”
Those comments were echoed by Martin Robertson, Acting Head Teacher at Auchinleck Academy who said: “It’s fantastic that our young people will benefit from these projects by allowing them to develop practical skills and gain vocational qualifications in a school environment.”
Claire Baird, said: “We are absolutely delighted to support such innovative projects and are very impressed by the way the project has been implemented with the full involvement of the young people. It’s a superb set up in both schools.”
Walter Smith, Chair of Princes Trust Ayrshire concluded: “Both projects will develop the soft skills of communication, commitment, customer services and courtesy which are a great foundation for education and life and are also highly prized by potential employers.
“Add in valuable, recognised qualifications and the long-term benefit these superb projects can offer the pupils becomes clear and I welcome them both warmly.”