One of the highlights of the year is attending the Graduation Ceremony at Kilwinning Abbey Church each year to celebrate the success of our local college students.
This year, a record 479 students graduated, in subjects ranging from Aerospace, Construction, Engineering and Science to Business, IT, Sports, Fitness, Social Science, Early Years Education and many others.
Ayrshire College now works with 600 local businesses, supports 900 apprentices and last year 95% of its graduated went into employment, training or continued in education. Such achievements are down to the hard work of the students themselves and staff, and the inspired leadership of Willie Mackie, Chairman of the Board of Management and Heather Dunk, Principal and Chief Executive, who will retire in the spring. Heather will be a hard act to follow. Such is Ayrshire College's excellent reputation that 18 highly qualified individuals have applied for the post.
With such strong leadership and solid foundations, Ayrshire College will continue to go from strength to strength in the months and years ahead.
I was pleased to be named during the Graduation Ceremony, along with Patricia Gibson MP, for the assistance we have given to the College, particularly over the last year.
Amongst the other guests today were Patricia, Ruth Maguire MSP and SNP councillors Scott Davidson, Christina Larsen, Jean McClung and Davina McTiernan.
The young woman in the wheelchair who graduated with an HNC in Administration and Information Technology is Jade Craig.
In the photo with Patricia, Willie, Heather and I are Kevin Simpson, the Student President and Jack McCrindle, Student Vice-President.