Hundreds of North Ayrshire school children attended a unique event aiming to highlight the different routes into work and university recently. James Watt College hosted the Challenge Me day at its campus in Kilwinning, with those taking part reporting an informative, fun experience.
The idea behind Challenge Me is to promote awareness around the various vocational routes into gaining employment and achieving qualifications. Around 300 S3/4 pupils from nine schools in Ayrshire and Arran came along to Kilwinning to hear more about the options available at College. Workshops were on offer in a number of fields, revealing what it is really like to work or study in areas like Health, Make Up Artistry, Sport, Science and Engineering.
A number of speakers also attended, including Dr. Peter T Hughes OBE, Chief Executive of Scottish Engineering. He delivered an enthusiastic and energetic talk to the teenagers, highlighting the value placed on practical, vocational skills in the workplace and the world of academia. He commented: “Events such as Challenge Me are great for pupils to get exposure to those actively involved in training and business and to see firsthand the links between college, qualifications and careers.
“Coming into a college environment has been a great opportunity for the pupils and they have had the chance to try things out for themselves, which will hopefully flick a switch, inspire them and motivate them to do well.”
Challenge Me offered the hundreds of pupils who attended the chance to see the numerous different routes into university or a career. Shannon McGhie from St Matthews Academy in Saltcoats felt the workshops on Science and Social Science helped to put the subjects in context in terms of jobs and opportunities. She said: “I’ve really enjoyed the day. I’m interested in studying psychology when I leave school. The Social Science workshop focussed on Police Studies and Psychology and was definitely interesting and worthwhile. It has been good to come in to James Watt today and see what the college is like for myself.”
Iain Carr, a Guidance teacher from Ardrossan Academy accompanied a group of 30 young people from his school. He commented: “Some of the pupils are looking to go to college, some to university and some are considering modern apprenticeships in a range of careers. It was interesting for them to hear about the pathways between further and higher education and the links between college and university. It was also beneficial for them to gain some hands on experience of different courses in a college environment. “
James Watt College Principal Sue Pinder OBE welcomed the pupils to the event. She remarked: “It was wonderful to be part of such a vibrant day here at the College. There is a fantastic amount of potential for all kinds of achievement with this group of young people and here at James Watt we hope to play whatever role we can in that. It is so important that school age pupils are made aware of the vast possibilities that vocational study can offer as they look to make decisions crucial for their future paths.”
Pupils attended from the following schools: Ardrossan Academy, Auchenharvie Academy, Arran High School, Garnock Academy, Greenwood Academy, Irvine Royal Academy, Largs Academy, Kilwinning Academy, St Mathews Academy