From education to employment

New vocational training to tackle youth unemployment in East Ayrshire

Young people in East Ayrshire staying in further education will have more choice and opportunity to gain transferable skills and qualifications, with the announcement today of a new programme of vocational training.

Designed to bridge the skills gap and combat rising unemployment in Cumnock and Doon Valley among young people, the new courses will enable students to gain SQA qualifications, and at the same time increase their prospects of further study onto a SVQ apprenticeship programme.

The new one year courses, part of a joint initiative between Ayr College and Kilmarnock College, will be available to all young people between the ages of 16 and 19, from the end of August.

Students starting this autumn at the Caponacre Campus of Ayr College, Cumnock will be able to choose from; manual trades, including building, carpentry and electrical, as well as fashion courses aimed at developing design and practical skills. In addition, students will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience through a work placement and receive support through, an individually designed personal development programme.

Donald Stewart, Equal Employability and Guidance Manager at Ayr College outlined the objectives for the new course saying, “We”ve designed the programme to be quite fun so interview skills will be taught through drama and IT will be taught through things young people are interested in, like downloading music to create a CD. The course content is extremely practical and our learning model will allow us to use sector specific expertise to the benefit of all students: for example, we will have hairdressers teaching the trades students customer handling skills.”

Students will also receive support concerning employability skills development, job seekers training, early employee support and business start-up support.

He continued, “The goal of this new programme is to make our young people more confident with people in business and social situations, while addressing East Ayrshire’s 4.7% unemployment rate. Because of our focus on motivation, interview skills and personal presentation skills, young people who complete this programme will leave with transferable skills that will prepare them for any job they chose.”

Youth Development Officer at Kilmarnock College, Marla Baird said, “Making career choices can be quite stressful for young people, our new programme is about giving young people in the Cumnock area a chance to make career choices in a new way. We want to develop young people’s skills by finding out what they are good at and building on it.”

Jason Seebaruth.

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