hub South West gives school leavers unique career opportunity
The lives of 11 young men from the south west of Scotland have been transformed by an innovative and ground-breaking partnership which has seen them launched towards rewarding careers in the construction industry.
Their success was marked last month with a celebration and awards presentation which recognised their achievements in completing a bespoke employability programme as well as practical experience on active building sites.
The industry-leading course, called Your Future Starts in Construction, was the first of its kind to be offered by public-private partnership hub South West and was specifically aimed at a critical point in the young candidates’ career path.
All the youngsters were all drawn from the cohort of Winter Leavers - that is, pupils who elect to leave school early, potentially putting them at greater risk of economic and social exclusion.
The course, supported by the Prince’s Trust, the Construction Industry Training Board, Kier Construction and Ayrshire College, gave the candidates a unique insight into the huge range of career opportunities within the industry.
Euan Ferguson, who studied at Greenwood Academy in Irvine, said: “I enjoyed exploring joinery and I have now been accepted on to an Ayrshire College course to study the trade in Kilwinning.”
Matthew Laverie, formerly of Prestwick Academy, said: “I was not particularly looking forward to the programme but I really took a lot away from it. I now have the chance to study multi-trade construction at Ayrshire College.”
The other young men who completed the course include Taylor Jarvie (Auchinleck Academy), Gary Kyle and Toby Moffat (Loudon Academy), Barry McLaughlin (Prestwick Academy), Lochlan Miller and Rian Smith (Grange Academy), Mark O’Neill and Norman Stephens (Park School) and Daryl Orderley (Ardrossan Academy).
The programme offered students:
- One day a week at college for eight weeks;
- 2 full weeks at college learning employability skills;
- A test to gain a Construction Skills Certification Scheme card, facilitating entry to live sites;
- A week’s work experience on an active construction site;
- Experience of skills such as brickwork, joinery and painting and decorating;
- The opportunity to progress to a trade-specific course at Ayrshire College.
Speaking after the awards ceremony at Ayrshire College’s Kilmarnock Campus, Michael McBrearty, chief executive of hub South West, said: “Construction is an Innovative and ever growing industry which boasts a vast spectrum of potential roles from practical trades such as brick laying and joinery, to different roles in architecture and quantity surveying.
“It is a fantastic industry to be a part of, and it is vital that young people are made aware of opportunities to thrive through construction, be it via an apprenticeship, an academic route or through programmes such as this.
“I am thrilled that the students were able to experience a working week on two of our current flagship projects in Ayrshire, the William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock and Ayr Academy, and I wish them the best of luck with their future in the industry.”
Brian McQuade, managing director of Kier Construction in Scotland, added: “Construction makes a huge impact on our lives and forms a fundamental part of our economy, but there is a real skills shortage in the industry.
“Kier Construction supports many initiatives to attract and retain future talent and improve employability. This trade programme is a great example of providing an inspiring taste of the industry at a key point in young people’s lives while improving employability prospects at the same time.”