Ayrshire College officially opens Willie Mackie Skills Hub
Ayrshire College has officially opened the new Willie Mackie Skills Hub in Kilwinning.
The two-storey building provides a flexible learning space that can respond to emerging technologies and allows Ayrshire College to offer vocational training in sustainable and SMART technologies alongside traditional construction trades.
The low-carbon building has been made possible because of significant funding contributions from Magnox and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA) - through the Magnox Socio-economic scheme - North Ayrshire Council, the Ayrshire College Foundation and the Scottish Funding Council.
Designed by Thomson Hunter Architects and constructed by Ashleigh (Scotland) Ltd, the Skills Hub is equipped with the latest industry standard tools and equipment to provide students with an outstanding learning experience.
Speaking at a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the building, Ayrshire College principal and chief executive Angela Cox said: “We are thrilled to launch this innovative facility that will inspire our future workforce, enable our current students to excel in their chosen career and support our employers to remain competitive in sectors being disrupted by new technologies. The Willie Mackie Skills Hub embodies our commitment to providing Ayrshire with the skilled workforce it requires to thrive.”
The Skills Hub is named after former chair of the Ayrshire College board of management, Willie Mackie, who stepped down from the role after completing the maximum term of office of a regional college chair.
Invited guests gathered to celebrate the occasion and hear what this new building will bring to the people of North Ayrshire.
Ayrshire College has now expanded its apprenticeship programme into North Ayrshire, with the first cohort of apprentices from James Frew Ltd welcomed to the state-of-the-art training facility earlier this month.
Rob Fletcher, Magnox CEO, said: “Magnox is committed to supporting the local communities near its sites and this is a great example of how we have been able to work with an organisation that makes a real difference to the lives of the people in this area. Our decommissioning mission at Hunterston A, and in future years Hunterston B, relies on developments of this nature. Magnox is committed to encouraging and developing education and skills and creating opportunities for sustainable employment.
“The Willie Mackie Skills Hub will be the primary location for high quality STEM vocational skills development for college students, primary and secondary school pupils, employers and their workforce and North Ayrshire residents seeking to train and upskill. Our engagement with the college is helping us achieve our objective to create a sustainable future for individuals and local organisations in the area.”
David Peattie, NDA CEO, said: “This facility will provide an inspirational learning environment for young people and help them access the employment opportunities of the future.
“The NDA is tasked with decommissioning the UK’s earliest nuclear sites safely, securely, and sustainably. We know that we’re going to require a highly skilled workforce to progress our mission and high-quality local education provision is essential to deliver that.
“Supporting essential projects like the Willie Mackie Skills Hub helps us deliver our commitment to leave a positive, long-lasting legacy for future generations, within our site communities.”
Councillor Tony Gurney, cabinet member for Green Environment and Economy, said: “We have a long-standing partnership with Ayrshire College and are delighted that the Willie Mackie Skills Hub is opening here in North Ayrshire.
“It is an exciting campus development project and will enable the College to offer a dynamic and flexible curriculum aligned to the needs of local and national skills priorities.
“This fantastic new facility will support existing and emerging sectors across Ayrshire and will complement our Ayrshire Growth Deal investment by preparing our young people and ensuring we have a skilled workforce.”
Tracey Stark, chair of the Ayrshire College Foundation, said: “On behalf of the trustees, we are delighted to witness the culmination of our investment as The Willie Mackie skills Hub officially opens its doors. This remarkable achievement is a testament to the power of collaboration and our unwavering commitment to supporting initiatives that enhance our community. As we celebrate this momentous occasion, we look forward to the positive impact the Skills Hub will have on the lives of students for generations to come.”