Ayrshire colleges to merge

The vision to create a bigger, better and stronger college that will serve Ayrshire long into the future becomes a reality today with the formation of Ayrshire College.

The new College aims to Inspire Achievement, Raise Aspirations and Increase Opportunities for all of the communities in Ayrshire.

The new College will play a key role in helping to develop the economy in Ayrshire by ensuring that students develop the right skills and positive attitudes to support the local, regional and national economy.

New Principal Heather Dunk said “Ayrshire College has huge potential to make a difference both for students and for Ayrshire. Today is a significant landmark in the history of education provision in Ayrshire.

The scale of the new College means that we can combine strengths and resources to enable our students to develop the high quality skills that will allow them to change their lives.

We will work in partnership with businesses and key stakeholders to ensure we are focused on providing opportunities which meet demand in key industry sectors in Ayrshire and beyond.

We want to work with our partners to drive growth and prosperity to benefit both the local, regional and national economy”.

Ayrshire College will support over 14,000 students has a turnover of £45m and around 800 staff and will operate from three main campuses in Ayr, Kilmarnock and Kilwinning as well as satellite centres in Cumnock, Gatehead and Largs.

Heather added: “In many respects vesting day is just the start of a journey.

“We know there is a lot of hard work ahead to deliver the vision for the College. I am fortunate to have a very talented staff team who are looking forward to the opportunities the new College brings.

We are confident that by working together we will make Ayrshire College the best in Scotland; inclusive, innovative and sector leading. A College, which all of our students, staff, stakeholders and communities will be proud of.

Willie Mackie, Chair of Ayrshire College, said “the new Board will support the College staff team to deliver the best possible student experience across the region. The Board will ensure the highest standards of governance are in place and we will be leveraging the many existing best practices which are already evident in Ayrshire. This is indeed a historic moment and one which the new board are proud to be associated with.

Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning Mr Michael Russell said ““This is an exciting time for the college sector with students and employers reaping the benefits. The scale and influence of the new Ayrshire College and the combined expertise on which it will be able to draw, will provide a real stimulus for economic growth in the region.   Ayrshire College will build on the strong records of Ayr, Kilmarnock and James Watt (North Ayrshire Campuses) Colleges and represents the sector’s pivotal role in delivering the Opportunities for All pledge to offer all 16 to 19 year olds a place in education or training.

“The launch of this new College will play a central part in the Scottish Government’s efforts to take education in this country from good to great. Today marks the culmination of enormous vision, dedication and hard work by new Principal Heather Dunk, the leaders, staff and students of the merging colleges and I want to pay tribute to the efforts of all involved.”