YOUNG people will be queuing up to join a life-changing programme when Tim McArthur starts his new job.

He has taken on the role of East Ayrshire support officer with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) scheme.

Funding from the council has covered the cost of the new post in a bid to reach out to more young people in the area.

Pupils at Cumnock, Doon, Auchinleck and St Joseph’s academies will be among those benefitting from the appointment by developing their skills for life and work.

A DofE programme involves volunteering, learning a skill, getting fit, planning and undertaking an expedition out in the countryside.

Work-ready skills are developed whilst doing the DofE such as confidence, commitment, resilience and team working.

Mr McArthur’s work will include training new leaders and focussing on getting more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds involved.

He said: “I am thrilled to be joining the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in this new post. As a parent volunteer, I know the positive impact the DofE has and I look forward to helping more local young people to develop skills for life and work.”

Head of education at East Ayrshire, Alan Ward, said the council was delighted to make the investment which will build on recent growth.

“We are continually looking to improve opportunities available to young people. Programmes like this enable them to engage in the community and develop their skills,” he added.

The scheme has been running since 1956 and currently has more than 20,000 young people taking part across Scotland through a variety of schools and groups. Cumnock and Muirkirk both have centres — contact Vibrant Communities at or on 01563 576354.

Director of DofE Scotland, Barry Fisher, said: “We are very excited by the recent growth of the DofE in East Ayrshire and with this post we will be better able to support that. Now, more young people from all backgrounds will be able to take part in life-changing DofE programmes.”