Using our away shirt to stem new partnerships

Much has been made of the unique design of our away kit this season. With the chemical construct of penicillin woven throughout the red fabric, the statement shirt celebrates the discovery of the world’s first ever antibiotic, discovered in 1928 by Ayrshire’s very own Sir Alexander Fleming.

Reigniting the story behind Fleming’s accidental discovery, The Killie Community team have been visiting schools across Ayrshire to spark STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) interest.

The STEM sessions have been supported by Men’s First Team captain, Kyle Vassell, and have forged a partnership between The Killie Community, North Ayrshire Council and scientific experts GSK – a global biopharma company with a manufacturing facility in Irvine.

Through a series of easy scientific experiments that can be replicated by teachers in the school with other classes too, pupils have the chance to discover more about the important role antibiotics play in keeping us healthy.

With over 15 Ayrshire schools already in the back of the net, pupils are enjoying combining their STEM learning with taking part in some challenging fitness and football coaching drills, highlighting the importance of exercise in leading a healthy lifestyle.

The result of this mixture is an exciting, new partnership with neighbouring North Ayrshire Council and The Killie Community.

Active Schools Manager for North Ayrshire, Leanne Hillan-Fowler, said:

“North Ayrshire Active Schools are delighted with the newly formed partnership with The Killie Community. We have taken a different approach to the programme whereby we are targeting schools and young people who may not already be part of football teams and are looking for an opportunity to shine. The schools enjoyed the taster sessions and are currently experiencing a new Killie Kids session in Auchenharvie.

“We can see our partnership flourish as we move forward and will look to replicate this model of delivery in other localities across North Ayrshire.

“Thank you to all the coaches who have been part of the delivery to date and making the sessions fun and inclusive.”

Councillor Shaun Macaulay, Cabinet Member for Education and Young People said:

“Thank you to Kilmarnock Football Club and GSK for teaming up with North Ayrshire schools once again.

“Not only have they provided our young learners with the opportunity to connect with their local scientific heritage, the sessions have also helped them to gain a greater understanding of the exciting STEM careers available in North Ayrshire.

“[I witnessed] Castlepark’s primary 5 pupils participating in health and science activities directly linked to local industry, hearing first-hand about the education pathways of professionals working in these industries.

“This collaborative approach is vital for nurturing an interest in STEM careers and the sessions are of upmost importance if we are to continue to develop a highly skilled future workforce for the region. The activities undertaken could very well inspire these young people to pursue careers in sports science or chemical engineering in North Ayrshire, so this was a great learning experience for all involved.”

Craig Tracey, Community Support Officer at The Killie Community added:

“This unique project is using the power of football to inspire the next generation of scientists.

“Working across North Ayrshire schools, using the penicillin-themed design on Kilmarnock FC’s away top, we are enjoying huge success sparking young people’s interest in STEM with over 15 schools participating across the three-Ayrshire’s so far.

Click here if your school would like to get involved.