Arran trip will ‘enrich’ students’ lives


A group of island students are to head to the Isle of Arran this weekend to get involved in a large-scale community project, with support from the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company.

The young people, who are in their late teens and early 20s, are members of the Employability Skills Group at University College Isle of Man.

They have teamed up with beach cleaning charity Beach Buddies to travel to Arran, the largest isle in the firth of Clyde, where around three quarters of the litter on its beaches is plastic with the next largest category being glass at seven per cent.

The Steam Packet Company is sponsoring the trip which students have geared up for by approaching an array of island businesses to help clean-up their offices, car parks and work environments.

Founder of Beach Buddies, Bill Dale, explained: ‘In recent months I’ve been helping at College (UCM) with a number of projects and have become involved with those who have, at times, struggled with their education for one reason or another, yet want to succeed in life.

‘They are such a likeable and enthusiastic bunch and have joined the Skills Group to try and enhance their chances of getting jobs on the island.

‘Not only have they been encouraged to obtain qualifications, but we are helping them get involved in community projects and have started clean-up community sessions all over the place.

‘At the end of this, Beach Buddies will be delighted to give each of the group a reference when they apply for a job, based on personal knowledge of what they are capable of achieving and an honest appraisal on their ability to be a good employee.’

Kate Bergquist, Employability and Skills coordinator at UCM, added: ‘I can’t stress enough the difference this trip will make to some of our students’ lives, especially when trying to seek future employment. The whole experience will be an enriching one.

‘I call this group of students the “The Dream Team” because they really are determined to make a difference and overcome their individual difficulties to help create a better community.’

Arran attracts over 400,000 visitors a year who go to explore its beautiful countryside.

In recent years it has made a significant effort to reduce the impact of single-use plastic on the environment.

‘We are delighted to support such a positive initiative and hope the students from the Employability Skills Group have a rewarding trip,’ said Steam Packet Company Chief Executive Mark Woodward.

‘They are clearly keen to raise awareness about the careless disposal of litter and to join in getting the message across to the public about the dangers this causes to the environment and wildlife, a cause we also feel strongly about.’

UCM Students at a local clean-up
UCM Students at a local clean-up