The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Ayrshire Modern Apprentices win top community prize

A TEAM of young Kilmarnock engineers has secured an impressive community award for the design of a new aviary in Dean Country Park.

Three Modern Apprentices from drinks giant Diageo in Kilmarnock designed and built the structure to house the park’s exotic birds.

[Photograph shows left to right: Scottish Enterprise manager of skills and learning Joe Hoolaghan with the three winning Diageo Modern Apprentices Michael Webb, Stewart Aitken and Christopher Differ with Fiona Stewart of Scottish Enterprise. CLICK ON IMAGE TO VIEW FULL-SIZE VERSION.]

Working with the park ranger, the small team agreed that improving the park’s pet corner would benefit the community. The area was very popular among visitors to the park - however, the existing aviary was old and damaged.

The apprentices had sole responsibility for planning, budgeting, sourcing funding, managing resources and project management.

The project took top prize in the Ayrshire Modern Apprenticeship Community Challenge, organised by Scottish Enterprise and Ayrshire Business in the Community. More than 20 Modern Apprentices from Ayrshire companies formed five teams to compete for the prize (see picture below).


The Community Challenge invited company apprentices to dedicate their time and skills to put something back into their local communities.

Each group completed a community project which they selected themselves after consulting their local community. A panel of independent business representatives judged the completed projects.

The quality of entrants was very high, and the judges faced some tough decisions.

A team from North Ayrshire Council upgraded an area within the grounds of James McFarlane Primary School, a special need school in Ardrossan. The apprentices designed and built a sensory garden for the children to enjoy. They had to take into account the special needs of the children, health and safety legislation to ensure that all the features were suitable for the pupils to touch and feel safely.

GE Caledonian’s team project greatly improved an area in Lainshaw Woods. Working with Stewarton Woodland Action Trust, the project team constructed benches, bird boxes and foot scrapers to enhance the experience for walkers.

A team from Goodrich Corporation worked with Stewarton Woodland Action Trust to provide a safe and secure seating place for the friends and families of a young boy, Dean McGregor, who died tragically last year. The team built a commemorative bench in the woodland area.

East Ayrshire Council created a memorial to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Kames Colliery Disaster in the small village of Muirkirk. Modern Apprentices from the council’s Building and Work department designed and produced a memorial bench that is in a prominent position within Muirkirk Cemetery.

Scottish Enterprise manager of skills and learning Joe Hoolaghan said: “The five entries were first-class. The decision-making process was tough, and it took a series of site visits for us to differentiate between some excellent projects. Ayrshire Modern Apprenticeship Community Challenge is an excellent opportunity to demonstrate the calibre of young people working in Ayrshire.

“The Modern Apprentices, who are still learning their trades, have delivered some great projects that will mean a lot to their communities, while contributing significantly to their own personal development.”

Lesley Craig of Ayrshire Business in the Community said: “The Ayrshire Modern Apprenticeship Community Challenge promotes mutual benefits between employers and local communities, in addition to increasing the confidence and skills of the modern apprentices. The project sponsors and the modern apprentices thoroughly enjoyed their time together during the planning and installation phases and this also promotes citizenship within local communities.”

The winning team was presented with its award at a special ceremony at the Park Hotel, Kilmarnock on 4 February 2008.

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