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Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE

North Ayrshire Justice Services

An innovative community project for Justice Services

The Changing Rooms project is the second of five projects in North Ayrshire and is supported by Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire and North Ayrshire H&SCP.

The project targets people who have been involved in offending and are working with North Ayrshire Justice Services as part of a community-based order.   This project aims to provide service users with increased access to education and training opportunities that will help them improve their prospects of gaining employment, enhance their life skills and promote wellbeing.

Geraldine Cairns, Employability Mentor said, “Our goal is to break down the barriers that offending can create and encourage service users to dare to dream big and overcome the barriers that led to their offence, improving the lives of the individuals and families that live within our community.”

As part of a collaboration between Miko Coffee and North Ayrshire H&SCP, service users will be able to access Barista Skills training that will enable them to access a range of employment opportunities within the hospitality industry.  They will receive both training and hands on experience of delivering high-quality barista service, with opportunities to engage with training opportunities and experience of working at events across Ayrshire.   This will help them to develop the skills required to work within this thriving sector, as well as being able to demonstrate their capacity and experience of successfully delivering a Barista service.

Service users will be able to access training and development opportunities as part of North Ayrshire Justice Services Employability Mentor Programme.  They will be offered one to one support and guidance from a Mentor who will help them to continue to develop their skills and access accredited qualifications across a range of different industries to encourage them to pursue their employment goals and aspirations.   Eligible service users can participate and receive an industry recognised certificate in barista that will enable them to seek employment in hospitality settings.

Tracy Nimmo, Team Manager said, “We are very pleased that service users are being trained and gaining skills and qualifications in such a short period of time and will be operating these as Income Generation projects.”

A formal launch of the innovative community project took place at the end of 2022 in Ardeer Community Centre and was supported by North Ayrshire Council Provost Anthea Dickson and Walter Smith MBE, Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire, and North Ayrshire H&SCP Business Ambassador.   Those in attendance were able to sample the delicious beverages produced by the Changing Rooms volunteers who were on hand to show off the skills that they gained as part of their training.

Tracy highlights one of the project’s success stories and talks about when Claire first came to the attention of the Employability Mentors, “she appeared to be very anxious, however did express that she would like employability support to work on her confidence, to address her low self-esteem and to gain some qualifications to support her long-term employment goal to re-enter the employment market.”

“Claire struggled with her mental health, was living in fuel poverty and was very low on provisions. The Employability Mentors first addressed those barriers, making referrals to services to address fuel poverty, debt, and budgeting.    Referrals were also made to obtain support with her mental health. Following this period of intervention Claire reported feeling more positive and was coping better.”

“Claire’s confidence was improving at the same time Justice Services became facilitators for Barista Training.    Claire was supported to attend the training which took place in Irvine and following successful completion of the training she demonstrated her skills at the launch event in 2022, where she was presented with her training certificate from Provost Anthea Dickson. Claire has subsequently gone on to gain employment within the hospitality sector and is doing well.”

Roseanne Burns, Senior Manager said, “this case study reinforces the benefits of partnership working with our colleagues in Employability, the positive impact that our Employability Mentor has had and the opportunities that the barista training has provided in securing employment”.

To date there have been 13 people undertake Barista training with Miko certificates, 4 of these have progressed to formal assessment and received industry recognised qualifications. As yet, 1 of these have gained employment in the hospitality industry.

There has been a slight delay in progressing further Barista training as North Ayrshire H&SCP are currently setting up a training assessment centre based here in North Ayrshire and once this is up and running training will continue.

Justice Services plan to have ongoing localised Barista training to build a pool of trained Baristas, with the potential to set up an income generation project with this service going on hire to local events in the local community manned by Justice services service users.


In December 2014 the Scottish Government announced its strategy to improve youth employment in Scotland. This was the Developing Young Workforce initiative following on from the Wood Commission.

Developing Young Workforce Ayrshire was established in 2015 and one of the key outcomes was the Innovative School Projects (ISP’s), unique to Ayrshire. The first such ISP was conceived, born, and bred at Greenwood Academy in North Ayrshire. This was the Lovilicious nail bar project. Its initial aim was to help a group of pupils facing challenges at school, to build confidence, self-esteem, and to offer non-traditional opportunities to enhance employability prospects.

ISP’s, also known as DYW Projects, are very much an Ayrshire invention. Since 2015, 125 projects have been funded and supported in Ayrshire with the key partners being DYW Ayrshire, Ayrshire College, Prince’s Trust Ayrshire, and the local schools. They exist in every Ayrshire secondary school with 48 alone in North Ayrshire.

What do these projects accomplish:

  • They develop employability and life skills.
  • They instil what are called the 6C’s – confidence, communication, commitment, customer service, customer care and courtesy.
  • The young people gain vocational and industry entry level qualifications.
  • In 2019, pre-Covid lockdown, the participants gained over 1250 vocational qualifications.
  • They have significantly improved the levels of positive destinations for young people.
  • A number of these ISP’s run as mini enterprises helping the sustainability of the projects.

The ISP projects offer a diverse range of opportunities including barista, beauty, construction, cyber security, childcare, events management, rural and horticultural skills, bike repair, digital media, upcycling and beekeeping.

**Please note the service users name has been changed for privacy reasons**