The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

The Elite Ayrshire Business Circle

Friday, 3 November 2017

Kilmarnock regeneration company HALO sets up new working partnership with Ayrshire College

Kilmarnock-based regeneration company HALO and its neighbour Ayrshire College have set up a new partnership to encourage leading-edge, practical learning in enterprise and innovation, cyber resilience and digital security to support the creation of a future workforce of digitally skilled young people from Ayrshire.


[Pictured: Marie Macklin CBE, who is leading The HALO initiative, and Heather Dunk, Principal and Chief Executive of Ayrshire College, sign up to the new partnership.]

The HALO and Ayrshire College have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in which they have agreed to combine knowledge, resources, networks and efforts to support the creation of the HALO Enterprise and Innovation Centre (HEIC) and the cyber security/digital hub that are planned as part of the impressive regeneration project. This is the second of two key educational partnerships for The HALO which is also working with the University of the West of Scotland.

Part of the HEIC will be an experiential learning space designed and equipped for the digital age. The Centre will house spin-out and start-up businesses within the new well-connected town centre offices which are due for completion in summer 2019. The HEIC will be part of a national and international network of Government and industry-inspired cyber centres making Scotland a leader in digital knowledge and understanding.

The partnership also aims to explore and promote new approaches to stimulating self-discovery, self-motivation and self-confidence, particularly among young people, in the communities served by the college.

Marie Macklin CBE, who is leading The HALO initiative, said: “This is the second of two critical educational relationships for The HALO to be recognised as one of Scotland's key cyber centres. Our proposals to make The HALO a leading location for learning and developing digital skills represent an ideal opportunity to combine the knowledge and teaching expertise of Ayrshire College and the University of the West of Scotland.

“Together we are aiming to create a unique environment and a range of learning experiences for people of all ages and abilities making Ayrshire one of the most digitally-aware, digitally-skilled areas in Scotland. This will increase employment opportunities and will help to make Ayrshire and Scotland an informed, prepared and safe place for business, and promote inclusive growth."

Heather Dunk, Principal and Chief Executive of Ayrshire College, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the HALO initiative. This will provide opportunities for our students and staff from a range of industry sectors to support economic development in Ayrshire. We look forward to developing ideas for the digital hub and using HALO to stimulate enterprise and innovation opportunities for our students.

“By developing the talents of our students, we will be supporting the digital skills workforce pipeline and preparing students for jobs in the digital skills and cyber security industries as well as a range of other key sectors.

“Our partnership with HALO will build on our existing strengths and support our ambitions for social inclusion, economic growth and innovation.”

About The HALO Kilmarnock

The HALO is an imaginative, innovative and inspirational regeneration initiative to revitalise the centre of Kilmarnock and support the growth and resilience of the Ayrshire economy.

It will create a dynamic commercial, educational, cultural, leisure and lifestyle quarter of the town, including a unique Enterprise and Innovation Centre - all fuelled by renewable energy.

This multi-faceted regeneration of a 23-acre site, formerly the home of Johnnie Walker, the world’s leading Scotch whisky, will generate over £53million in GDP for Kilmarnock and £65million for Scotland. The development will stimulate over 1800 jobs.

The HALO has evolved through significant community and key partner consultation and engagement. A multi-disciplinary project team has developed proposals that address a range of design, technical, commercial and economic factors aligned to the overall objectives of delivering sustainable, long-term economic and social benefits for the town of Kilmarnock and the wider Ayrshire community.

The Halo Kilmarnock Limited (THKL) is a development company formed by Macklin Enterprise Partnerships, The Klin Group and Ross Developments & Renewables to bring together a highly experienced property development team with the skills, resources and capacity to deliver a unique project that will add real value to the Scottish economy.


Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Councils explore regional partnership proposals

Plans to create a new partnership to boost the Ayrshire economy are moving forward following decisions by East, North and South Ayrshire Councils.


At the heart of the ambitious proposals is a single Ayrshire economic body that would drive change across the three areas.

The three Councils have collectively agreed that an interim development board will be created and further work should be undertaken on the option to develop a single Ayrshire body – working alongside national agency staff – that would deliver and support economic development across Ayrshire.

Once this work is complete, detailed proposals will be considered by all three Councils early next year.

The moves come after the Scottish Government agreed to explore ways that regional partnerships could stimulate the local economy.

Further work and engagement will be undertaken before detailed proposals are put before all Councils at the start of next year.

An Ayrshire partnership would build on the progress being made to deliver the ambitious Ayrshire Growth Deal, which is designed to boost business, jobs and prosperity. The intention would be to incorporate the delivery of Growth Deal projects into any new body.


Councillor Joe Cullinane (pictured above), Leader of North Ayrshire Council, said: "We feel this approach offers us a real opportunity to work with our neighbouring local authorities to maximise the potential of the regional economy of Ayrshire.

"We know the benefits that the Ayrshire Growth Deal can bring to the region and by working together with the key agencies in a new Economic Partnership, we are in a stronger position to build on Ayrshire's strengths and focus on the significant challenges of the local economy. 

"There is still further work to be done and we look forward to assessing more detailed plans over the coming weeks."


Councillor Douglas Reid (pictured above), Leader of East Ayrshire Council welcomed the proposals. He said: "In order for Ayrshire to compete at a Scottish, UK and global level it's clear that there needs to be a fundamental shift in the way we support local growth and inward investment.  

"A regional agency will make the best possible use of all local assets, skills, expertise and resources and will provide an effective mechanism for achieving the ambitions of the Ayrshire Growth Deal."


Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of South Ayrshire Council, added: "What we have now collectively agreed provides a terrific opportunity to look at how we support the economy at local, regional and national levels and maximise the benefits for our people and communities. Our aim is to ensure that we have the right governance and operational model to support the major pieces of work – like the Growth Deal – as well as making the most of our day-to-day service delivery that supports skills, jobs and business growth.

"Ayrshire has the potential to be a real trailblazer in this regard and I look forward to seeing the proposals take shape over the next few months."


Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown (pictured above), said: "This announcement by the three Ayrshire Local Authorities is very welcome. We believe that there are significant benefits in a collaborative regional approach to driving the Ayrshire economy, bringing new jobs, businesses and investment to the area.

"The Scottish Government is committed to supporting Regional Partnerships. We continue to support the Ayrshire councils as they develop their approach to working with all partners, including the private sector to drive inclusive growth across this beautiful part of Scotland."

South Ayrshire Council is a Founder Member of the Elite Ayrshire Business Circle.