Rural skills initiative at Girvan Academy

Students learning Rural Skills
Students learning Rural Skills

Young people at Girvan Academy are set to benefit from a new horticultural and rural skills initiative.

Not only will they learn to grow their own fruit and veg, they will develop skills which could be of use when they leave school.

Local elected members Peter Henderson and Ian Fitzsimmons join students and Walter Smith of the Prince's Trust and Claire Baird of the DYW

Local elected members Peter Henderson and Ian Fitzsimmons join students and Walter Smith of the Prince's Trust and Claire Baird of the DYW

South Ayrshire Council has been working with the Prince’s Trust and Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire (DYW) to put the horticultural and rural skills initiative in place and help boost the employability of youngsters at the school.

Funding of £24,175 has been invested in the scheme by the Prince’s Trust and DYW with youngsters set to learn practical skills and gain confidence through communications and team working.

The funding has also been used to set up a bike repair hub at the school, a nail art studio and the young people will also become barista’s serving coffee and other hot drinks. Employers are looking for committed school leavers who are confident and put customers first, these initiatives go a long way to instilling these attributes in young people.

The new projects which receive lecturer support from Ayrshire College, add value to Girvan’s Skills Academy which already offers automotive, construction and child care skills.

More projects for Girvan Skills Academy

More projects for Girvan Skills Academy

Councillor William Grant, Lifelong Learning Portfolio Holder for South Ayrshire Council said: “Girvan Academy is leading the way in Prince’s Trust and DYW projects which prepare young people for life beyond school. Not only is there valuable practical experience on offer but youngsters learn how to work together to achieve their goals and the value of good communication.

“We need to do all we can to prepare young people for the jobs market and Girvan Academy is covering a lot of important sectors which could easily become gateways to employment.

“A lot of hard work has gone into setting up all the projects and I would like to pass on my thanks to everyone involved and wish the young people all the best for the future.”

Sheree Armstrong (16) from S6 said: “I have been involved in some local landscaping projects already but wanted to learn more about planting.

Recycled - the new bike repair hub

Recycled - the new bike repair hub

“We have already planted some trees and grown fruit and vegetables — it’s good working together and deciding what else we can grow.”

Calum Strachan (17) also from S6 said: “I am looking to get into farming so this is a really good project. I think the course will help me when I leave school as people will see I have experience and can work well with others.”

Claire Baird, DYW Project Executive “ Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire is delighted to support the four innovative projects launched at Girvan Academy in collaboration with the Prince’s Trust and Ayrshire College. These will allow the young people of Girvan the opportunities to develop their employability skills through a wide range of activities within the Skills Academy and also provide them with the soft skills employers are looking for. ”

Walter Smith, Prince’s Trust Ayrshire Chair “These are exciting times at Girvan Academy with the launch of the Skills Academy. It is really encouraging to see such a wide range of skills being provided in a school environment. The four additional projects being jointly supported by DYW and the Prince’s Trust significantly compliment the initial project set established by the school. Funding is provided by the Scottish Government Young People Initiative and Cash Back for Communities.”

Elaine Harrigan, Head Teacher at Girvan Academy said: “The young people, staff and partners are so enthusiastic about these initiatives and they are making a big difference. We can see the confidence in those taking part and they get our young people thinking about possible career paths.”

Other schools in South Ayrshire are also set to benefit as similar schemes are rolled out in Kyle Academy and Carrick Academy. Ayr Academy, Queen Margaret Academy Marr College and Belmont Academy are due to have initiatives in place over the next few months.

Similar schemes already running at Prestwick Academy and Newton Primary are set for a second year of funding in recognition of their success.