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Young people, parents, carers and teachers from across Ayrshire headed to the Kilmarnock Campus of Ayrshire College on Friday 23 March to find out more about career and education options for young people with additional support needs.

The annual Creating Connections event, run in partnership between Skills Development Scotland and Ayrshire College, saw over 150 people hear talks from local people, attend workshops with experts and meet with employers, charities and training providers to find out more about their options after leaving full-time education.

Following a welcome from Greg Cassidy, Head of Essential Skills at Ayrshire College, and Uuganaa Ramsay, Ayrshire ASN lead at Skills Development Scotland, two local people with disabilities and additional support needs spoke about their own experiences in the world of work and learning.

David Hunter, who has autism, shared his journey into the world of work with the audience, while Ayrshire College student Kayleigh Haggo spoke about how she balances studying for an HND in Sports at the college alongside her para-sporting career as a swimmer and role as a Scottish Disability Sport Academy Athlete and Co-Tutor.

SDS’s Uuganaa Ramsay said: “Creating Connections is about creating a community which is inclusive, diverse and well connected. We feel that the Creating Connections event and Ayrshire ASN Network Forum play important parts in bringing everyone together to share their stories and support each other in helping young disabled people and those with additional support needs.”

We feel that the Creating Connections event and Ayrshire ASN Network Forum play important parts in bringing everyone together to share their stories and support each other in helping young disabled people and those with additional support needs
Uuganaa Ramsay, Ayrshire ASN lead, Skills Development Scotland

After the lecture theatre talks, attendees had the chance to check out workshops covering issues including Access to Work and assistive technology, college options and training options that are open to young people with support needs.

The day was hailed as a huge success by visitors. One attendee noted: “The day was quite inspiring and helps me understand that there are many options out there.

Another said: “This is an excellent event – Kayleigh Haggo’s presentation was inspirational.”

Ayrshire College’s Greg Cassidy added: “Each young person has unique needs and we've found that no single organisation can provide the total solution to the challenges that young people meet as they move from school into the world of work. This event emphasised that the more information people have on the range of options available, the more they can make connections to appropriate organisations at each stage of their journey towards employment.”

There is more information on help with additional support needs in work at www.myworldofwork.co.uk/getting-job/additional-support-needs-work

SDS is Scotland’s careers service, with careers advisers working from its careers centres, community premises and in every state secondary school across Scotland.

With centres located across Ayrshire, customers can get information and advice covering areas including jobs, the local labour market, training courses and apprenticeships.

You can find your nearest service a www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.com/in-your-area

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