The brand new Doon Skills Academy was officially opened this week.

The innovative Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) academy will help to develop vocational, employability and life skills in the young people through structured projects, delivered within the curriculum and as part of the school timetable.

Projects will help prepare them for the world of work either in the short term straight from school or in the medium to long term after further education.

Cumnock Chronicle: Official opening of the Doon Skills Academy (Image: East Ayrshire Council)Official opening of the Doon Skills Academy (Image: East Ayrshire Council) (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

At the special event, held in the community café ‘The Flask’, head teacher Kenneth Reilly and East Ayrshire's Depute Provost, Claire Leitch, were joined by Walter Smith, Business Ambassador DYW Ayrshire; Wilson Barrie, DYW Ayrshire Employment Engagement Officer; members of the parent council; Fair Work Ayrshire; and Melissa Farrell from Platinum Glamour, who trains the young people attending Divine, the health and beauty training project.

Delighted with the opening of the new skills academy, Mr Reilly said: “The Skills Academy and the various innovative school projects that make it up are creating a real difference for our young people.

"It has allowed us to expand our curriculum and become focused on the importance of vocational education and how it helps improve our pupils’ chances of employment.

“It is really motivating many of our learners to develop their core skills including confidence and communication and become more prepared for the world of work. And this we see in all the different projects."

Cumnock Chronicle: Childcare training with electronic babies (Image: East Ayrshire Council)Childcare training with electronic babies (Image: East Ayrshire Council) (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

Projects are delivered by either college lecturers or appropriately qualified and accredited teachers supported in a number of cases by external partners or individuals with knowledge, experience, and qualifications in the particular field of activity.

Young people will develop vocational, employability and life skills including the core skills referred to as the 6C’s and have the opportunity to gain accredited qualifications recognised by various sectors including hospitality, early years and horticulture giving them equality of opportunity.  

“I was delighted to officially open Doon Skills Academy by cutting a ceremonial ribbon with Tiegan and Casey," Cllr Leitch added.

"It is so important to me to engage with our young people, to listen to their hopes and dreams and to support brilliant projects like this that will help them to succeed and achieve.

“The two new projects, Doon n’ Play and Doonies, are really exciting and will help prepare our young people for future careers.

"In Doon n’ Play the young people are training with life-like electronic baby dolls and they said that this had really helped with their training.

"Vocational education has a very important role to play in helping our young people get ready for being in workplace and I know the DYW Doon Skills Academy is going to make a positive difference.”

Walter Smith MBE, DYW Ayrshire Business Ambassador added: “The implementation of the skills academy at Doon Academy is a key milestone in the development of vocational and employability skills for young people in the school environment.

"Significant results are being achieved in improved attainment, positive destinations and community involvement, but most importantly it is providing equal opportunity for all.”