Canal partnership unlocks new opportunities for Glasgow students

Glasgow’s young people are set to have a boatload of new opportunities thanks to an innovative new partnership between Glasgow Kelvin College and Scottish Canals that will see students play a key role in the ongoing transformation around the city’s Forth & Clyde Canal.

Formalised today (Tuesday 3rd October) with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on board the Forth & Clyde Canal Society’s Voyager barge, the partnership will give the city’s young people the chance to take advantage of the infrastructure, business links, and future projects on the canal, undertaking training, developing new skills, and eventually taking up new jobs being created around the waterway. The project is of special importance in North East Glasgow, where 27% of residents – more than double the national average – have no qualifications.[1]

The partnership could see the students taking up their tools and assisting with construction projects on the canal banks; crafting creative cuisine at pop-up street food villages; helping deliver large-scale events like the world’s only uphill swimming race, Red Bull Neptune Steps; or even using the incredible environments of the waterway as venues for photography and video projects. It’s also hoped the partnership will assist entrepreneurial students in setting up their own businesses, with Scottish Canals able to provide low-cost premises and ongoing support.

“The Glasgow Canal has undergone an incredible transformation in recent years and has attracted major investment from the public, private and third sectors. From the blossoming cultural quarter at Speirs Wharf to the vibrant urban sports hub at Pinkston Basin and the bustling business park of 100 Borron Street, the waterway is alive with opportunities – and we’re committed to helping our young people make the most of them.

“With new housing, innovative energy projects, and internationally-renowned events coming to the canal in the years to come, it’s an incredibly exciting time. By getting local young people involved in these projects on their doorsteps, we can continue to create a brighter future for the area, its students, and the canal at its heart.”

Steve Dunlop, Chief Executive of Scottish Canals

The Glasgow Canal area has seen considerable investment in its regeneration by Scottish Canals and its partners in recent years, with world-renowned organisations such as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, National Theatre of Scotland, and Scottish Opera taking up residence on the canal, and numerous access and landscape improvements made to better connect the area with the city centre. It’s hoped the new partnership with Glasgow Kelvin College will improve links between the students and the organisations and facilities of the area.

“This partnership is a fabulous opportunity for our students and for the communities we serve as a College. When business and industry are integrated throughout the learning experience, our students gain a much more relevant education and they are more attuned to the needs of employers. They have a better chance of securing great careers when they leave us and industry benefits from work-ready, enthusiastic new employees.

Alan Sherry, Principal of Glasgow Kelvin College


Notes to Editors

  • Scottish Canals is responsible to the Scottish Government for the management and development of five Scottish canals as well as the surrounding estate and The Falkirk Wheel. See or follow @ScottishCanals for more information
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union and Monkland canals in the Lowlands, the Crinan Canal in Argyll and the Caledonian Canal in the Highlands, together extend over 137 miles from coast to coast, across country and into the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Inverness
  • Built two hundred years ago to fire the Industrial Revolution, today the canals contribute to the Scottish Government agenda of developing a Greener; Healthier; Smarter; Safer and Stronger; and Wealthier and Fairer Scotland by acting as a catalyst for sustainable economic development, regeneration and tourism; contributing to education, biodiversity, heritage and promoting active living and healthier lifestyles
  • Today Scottish Canals is utilising these 18th century assets along with innovative technology to tackle modern problems. Through working with partners to create pioneering systems, Scottish Canals is helping to combat flooding and driving positive transformation in some of Scotland’s most disadvantaged areas
  • The Forth & Clyde, Union, Monkland, Caledonian and Crinan canals are recognised as Scheduled Monuments and attract 22million visits per year. See for more information
  • Glasgow Kelvin College is a Further Education College based in the North of Glasgow, with four campuses at Springburn, East End, Easterhouse and West End. The college offers education up to HND level as well as a new Graduate Level Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering.
  • The college also supports a network of 39 community learning centres across the north east of Glasgow, including the John Wheatley Learning Network. The Network is the main vehicle for Glasgow Kelvin College’s Wider Access programme, which supports community groups and individuals living in deprived communities enabling the College to deliver learning tailored to meet the needs and goals of local residents.
  • The College curriculum includes: Engineering, Science, Construction, Business, Hospitality, Fashion, Event Management, Health & Social Care, Childcare, Sport & Outdoor Education, Hair & Beauty, Music, Jewellery, Art & Design, Photography, Community Development, Computing, Performing Arts, Social Science, Film & TV and Photography.

For further information, please contact:

Chris McDonald at Scottish Canals, on 07917 217 608 or email

Nicola Sturgeon at Scottish Canals on 07767 383 557 or email

Share this Story