Scotland’s newest college is aiming to get more than 360 disadvantaged young people into employment through a new heritage conservation qualification.
canal college® is Scottish Waterways Trust’s flagship employability and training initiative aimed at getting disadvantaged 16-30 year olds into work. Offering almost exclusively outdoor, hands on learning along the Forth & Clyde, Union and Caledonian Canals, the students will work towards a new SQA Level 2 Certificate in Cultural Heritage during the 14 week course.
The courses will be run from the canals in Falkirk, West Dunbartonshire and Inverness with course activities centred on developing traditional heritage and conservation skills.
“Following on from the success of our pilot we are delighted to be launching canal college as a national programme,” said Scottish Waterways Trust Chief Executive, Karen Moore.
“Young people with more than one barrier to employment is a key group identified in the Scottish Government’s ‘Developing the Young Workforce – Scotland’s Youth Employment Strategy’ and canal college specifically addresses the needs of this demographic.
“This pioneering programme will ensure that young people coming through the course will have the improved core life skills and the confidence that will enable them to move into a positive employment or educational outcome.
“Results from our pilot show that 70% of young people who completed the course achieve this and I’m confident we can replicate this success as the national programme rolls out.
As well as the new SQA in Cultural Heritage participants will also work towards a Saltire Award, John Muir Award, Heritage Heroes Award and SQA Level 5 Unit in Working Safely.
“Not only will canal college place hundreds of young people on a pathway to learning and work, the conservation projects they will undertake as part of their learning will help bring Scotland’s canal network to life,” said Karen.
Scottish Canals CEO Steve Dunlop said: “We are exceptionally proud to support canal college.
“The first phase of the project was a resounding success and saw each of its graduates learn new skills while helping to care for the incredible environments of the nation’s canals.
“Our staff, who helped train the students in everything from stonemasonry to archaeological surveying, were incredibly impressed by their dedication, commitment and willingness to learn. Some of the graduates have since moved into full-time roles within Scottish Canals.
“Expanding the scope of canal college will build on that success and giving much-needed new opportunities, skills and confidence to Scotland’s young people.
“We look forward to supporting Scottish Waterways Trust and the students throughout the project and beyond.”