Member of the Week - Cantraybridge College

Cantraybridge College is Scotland’s unique further education college for young adults with additional support needs.  Set up in 1994, the college originally taught only rural skills – agriculture, game-keeping and forestry.   Today, Cantraybridge still teach agriculture and have added horticulture, woodskills, small animal and bird care, café skills and property maintenance skills to the curriculum.   Around 45 students attend every week day, 20 of whom are residential students.   Most of their students have autism and/or learning disabilities, but they also have students with other support needs including mental health, sensory loss and physical disabilities.   If you are/know someone who could benefit (16+) then get in touch to find out more about their unique educational opportunities.

As well as vocational skills training, Cantraybridge education encompasses the whole person, they build up the young people’s confidence and softer employability skills.  The aim is not just to have a great educational experience, but to equip our students with the skills and confidence they need to live as independently as possible, and to get jobs or set up their own micro-businesses.

We spoke to Jenny Liddell, CEO of Cantraybridge college who has been in post for almost two years. Previously, she was a Learning & Development Manager working with NHS Highland and the Scottish Government for 12 years.

Jenny’s main ambitions for Cantraybridge are to develop the holisitic educational experiences of the students, to ensure that each one fulfils their potential and to raise awareness of this unique educational establishment throughout Scotland.

About her role at Cantraybridge College, Jenny said: “What I love most about working at Cantraybridge, aside from it doesn’t feel like work, is the difference we make to young lives.  It’s a privilege to lead a team of staff deeply dedicated to supporting our young people to fulfil their potential.  It’s a cheerful and happy place, something our venue hire clients and visitors regularly comment on.   It’s also a place of real ambition, and seeing the business become increasingly vibrant, both through improving services and increasing financial stability, gives a real sense of satisfaction to the team, board, volunteers and myself.”

We asked Jenny why she would like Cantraybridge College to feature as member of the week: “So that more people know we’re here, what we do and to get our communities, including the business community, more connected with this unique organisation. Cantraybridge College is located just off the B9006 between Culloden Battlefield and Croy, so we’re tucked away from passing traffic.  Not many people know that you can visit Cantraybridge for venue hire or simply to enjoy our farm café, buy our produce (think ‘food steps’ not ‘food miles’!) and tour the site to see our lambs, goats/kids, cows, bunnies, guinea pigs, hamsters, chinchillas and exotic birds.  It’s a lovely day out for the family which will shortly be further enhanced as we’re building a new accessible play area with the help of MFR Cash for Kids.  There will be accessible sand-pits, trampolines and much more to enjoy."

Cantraybridge College would like to raise awareness of the services they offer:

Venue Hire
Cantraybridge is set in 19 acres of working farm land, with lovely views across the Nairn River Valley. They have state of the art meeting and conference room facilities and an inclusive and friendly atmosphere for all.
Located a 20 minute drive from Inverness bus and railway station and just a 5 minute drive from Inverness Airport, their lecture theatre seats up to 30 people and offer large, interactive display screen with online capabilities; use of tablet devices; additional displays available and flipcharts; as well as free wifi.
Cantraybridge College would like to offer a whopping 20% discount on venue hire in 2018 for any Chamber of Commerce member – let them know you’re a member when you make your booking to qualify. More info here.

Cantraybridge welcome visitors to the site to enjoy our café and visit all the furry and feathered creatures our students care for (M-F, 10-3) – it’s a great day out for all the family.   They have a children’s area within the café and are building an accessible play area beside it.  In their café and ‘plant shop area’ you can buy wooden products (from chopping boards to bespoke furniture); produce grown on organic principles - fresh veg, eggs, honey as well as jams, chutneys and a wide range of garden plants grown here (as they’re grown in local soil they’ll grow in your garden!). Have a browse of their Menu here.

SDS Brokerage Services
More recently, Cantraybridge are please to be able to offer Cantraybridge Self Directed Support (SDS) Brokerage services. This service will look after your Individual Service Fund and run payroll for your staff.  If you are in receipt of an Option 2 (ISF) or Option 1 (Direct Payment) should you like someone else to deal with your invoices and money management with a very low fee of just 5%. Read more here

Cantraybridge College are delighted that many of their students have recently received multiple awards for their work with animals, for volunteering and for being ‘bright sparks’. When their students are successful they know they are doing a great job!

Jenny told us what she values most about her Inverness Chamber of Commerce membership: “Working with the Developing the Young Workforce team.  DYW has been of great help across all the work we do and were even able to find work placements for foreign students visiting Cantraybridge this year.  We’re looking forward to taking part in DYW’s Year of Young People 2018 events later in the year too.  We also benefit immensely from the ability to network with a wide range of other businesses in the Highlands – making contacts, building relationships and setting up partnership working.”

We asked Jenny to share her top-tip for other members to help maximise their membership: “Get along to a ‘Maximise your Membership’ seminar.  It took me a year to do so and I was amazed at the range of support that Inverness Chamber of Commerce offers. “ The next Maximise Your Membership breakfast takes place on Tuesday 21st August, bookings can be made here.

Facebook: @cantraybridge
Twitter: @cantraybridge_