Ten ambitious unemployed North Ayrshire residents came together to celebrate their achievements at a special graduation event.

The celebration, held at the Fullarton Hub, was attended by friends, family, councillors, DWP and the supporting employers marks the end of the intense training and the start of the graduates employment in the growing Ayrshire hospitality industry.

The North Ayrshire Hospitality School created by the hospitality education organisation, Hi! (Hub International) is the first if its kind in this area.

Trainee Adam Mcneil, 21, came to the course with a strong desire to be a chef, however after years of struggling to find paid employment he and his parents were worried he would never achieve his dream career.

His mum Joanne said: “My son is deaf and has additional needs and it was always a concern that it would be difficult for him to find employment. He completed the course with Hub International which included a placement at Seamill Hydro Hotel. He has now been offered a permanent job at the hotel as a chef. This course has been a turning point in Adam’s life. He is happy and his confidence has grown so much that he is now a different young man with a renewed enthusiasm for life.

“Steph, Janet and Hollie have gone above and beyond to ensure that Adam’s needs have been met at every stage of the course and we cannot thank them enough for everything they have done for Adam.”

The pilot programme aims to tackle unemployment in North Ayrshire as well as support growing tourism and hospitality businesses to think about becoming more inclusive employers which will support their skills shortage in the long term.

CEO of Hi! Stephanie Wade said: “It’s crucial for hospitality businesses to start planning now to attract the next generation of hospitality employees. To do this it’s important to adopt fair and inclusive practices when recruiting, supporting young or unemployed people with no experience to ac cess vacanc ies, coupled with paying the living wage and guaranteeing contracted hours over the use of zero hours contracts is one way to become a great employer and attract new talent.”