A PROJECT aiming to equip pupils with the skills they'll need for life when they leave school has been launched at Robert Burns Academy.

The school's new Skills 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. 

An official ribbon-cutting ceremony was held at the school this week to mark the beginning of the new chapter.

Cumnock Chronicle: Provost and Walter Smith with the team from All Fired UpProvost and Walter Smith with the team from All Fired Up (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

At the special event, head teacher Peter Gilchrist was joined by Provost Jim Todd, Walter Smith, business ambassador at Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) in Ayrshire,  Claire Baird (chief executive of the Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce) and local councillors Claire Leitch, William Lennox, Alyson Simmons, June Kyle and Neill Watts.

Projects will be 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. 

Five exciting projects make up the Skills Academy:

  • ‘All Fired Up’ - pottery project
  • ‘Barony Bespoke Bicycles’ – a maintenance and repair project
  • ‘Barony Buttons’ – a fashion and textiles project
  • ‘Bean and Gone’ – barista training project
  • ‘Robert Burns Market Gardeners’ – a horticultural skills project

All five projects are funded by DYW and supported by Ayrshire College.

Peter Gilchrist, the Academy's head teacher, said: “The Skills Academy and the various innovative school projects, which 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 for many of our learners to develop their core skills including confidence and communication and become more prepared for the world of work.”

Cumnock Chronicle: Provost Todd with Barony Bespoke BicyclesProvost Todd with Barony Bespoke Bicycles (Image: East Ayrshire Council)

Mr Smith said: “The implementation of the skills academy at The Robert Burns 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’s providing equal opportunity for all.”

Provost Jim Todd added: “Vocational education has a very important role to play in helping our young people get ready for being in the workplace and I know the DYW Robert Burns Skills Academy is going to make a positive difference.”