For the past several years, Worksmart Contracts has enjoyed a mutually beneficial working relationship with Ayrshire’s largest educational institution: Ayrshire College. This affiliation has seen Worksmart carry out a variety of works at both the Ayr and Kilwinning Campuses. These projects have proved to be hugely advantageous to the College and Worksmart.
Heather Dunk OBE was Principal of Ayrshire College for five years before retiring in March, and oversaw the works being carried out by Worksmart Contracts. Her successor Carol Turnbull is the new Principal and Chief Executive of Ayrshire College. Worksmart Contracts is looking forward to continuing our mutually beneficial relationship.
Before stepping down, Heather Dunk OBE was kind enough to give us her time and shared some of her thoughts on carrying out a Fit Out or Refurbishment at a college. Below, we’ve outlined some of the key benefits outlined by the former Principal.
Selecting the Right Contractor
The first thing any College or University needs to consider when carrying out a Fit Out or Refurbishment project is the choice of contractor. It’s essential that a thorough and robust screening process is carried out and that the correct company are selected. Things to remember during the selection process is that you need a company who can not only be trusted and have an excellent reputation, but also one that can remain competitive on price.
The bulk of any Refurbishment or Fit Out within a College or University needs to be done during the summer months. This will allow the work to occur with minimal interference and for the students’ academic studies to go undisturbed.
With this being the case, it leaves a very tight window for a project to be undertaken. For Colleges and Universities, this means finding a contractor who can set accurate deadlines and are able to work within those timescales without delays.
Worksmart Contracts have a reputation of being able to deliver on-time, on-budget and to a very high standard. Because of this, we have been able to forge a successful relationship with Ayrshire College.
Benefits to the Students
Worksmart has created a new Hospitality and Tourism Suite, Early Years Education spaces and Health and Social Care spaces. These areas are able to replicate the real-world conditions students will face after graduation. Being able to accurately display what students will find in industry is hugely important for their education.
The creation of these new learning spaces is the best way to ensure students are receiving the best possible education during their time at Ayrshire College. By granting them these facilities, Ayrshire College are giving them a higher chance of succeeding in after graduation.
Providing modern and attractive learning and social spaces for students has a huge impact on morale and vigour. This can be especially difficult in older buildings that were developed in the 60s and 70s. This was the issue facing the Ayr and Kilwinning Campuses of Ayrshire College.
By undertaking a refurbishment of the highest standards, we were able to make these two campuses feel like new buildings that can rival brand new campuses. This leads to higher student morale, more inspired individuals and can spark a greater thirst for learning and achievement.
There is no greater learning experience for a student than getting hands-on in a real-world environment. By working with Ayrshire College, we regularly give students the opportunity to come on site visits and give them a glimpse into what the industry is really like.
Finding placements as a student can often be the difference between getting a job after graduating or not. Our partnership with Ayrshire College has led to several students being given placement opportunities, not just in the construction side, but also in the marketing and administration side of Worksmart Contracts. This type of experience can prove to be invaluable when it comes to seeking employment.
Another way that has proven to be hugely positive for both Worksmart and the industry as a whole has been our continued development of females getting into the Construction Industry.
Our first ever female joinery apprentice has been greatly involved in projects with Ayrshire College, engaging with students and helping to inspire and teach them about a potential career and opportunities in the industry.