On Tuesday the 31st January the very first hub South West ‘Your Future starts in Construction’ programme concluded with an awards presentation and celebration at Ayrshire College, Kilmarnock Campus.
Supported by the Prince’s Trust, CITB, Kier Construction and Ayrshire College, the programme was designed to give potential school leavers throughout Ayrshire the chance to explore the wide spectrum of opportunities within the Construction Industry and learn about alternative routes into employment.
The bespoke employability programme began with pupils attending college one day a week for 8 weeks in order to study towards their CSCS qualification and practice a variety of trades including brickwork, joinery and painting and decorating.
Pupils then spent 2 full weeks with Ayrshire College where they sat their CSCS test, attended a site visit to the William McIlvanney Campus in Kilmarnock and focussed heavily on employability skills such as interview techniques, mentoring support and CV review.
Once students achieved their CSCS cards, granting them access to live sites, they progressed into a full weeks work placement on either the William McIlvanney Site or the Ayr Campus site in South Ayrshire.
Here they worked with companies including D&D decorators, SPIE and Lesterose to gain trade specific skills and experience a live site environment.
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).
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 bricklaying 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."
Lee Johnstone, Head of Corporate Partnerships at the Prince’s Trust Scotland, said: "Ayrshire has one of the highest rates of youth unemployment in Scotland. This project sought to prepare young people for future work by opening up their understanding of vocational pathways into the construction industry. Ultimately, it helps them become part of the industry’s future talent pool."
Brian McQuade, Managing Director of Kier Construction in Scotland, said: "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."
Graeme Donaldson, Curriculum Manager for Trades at Ayrshire College, added; “This is unique programme has given Ayrshire pupils a taste of what to expect from a career in construction.
“The College has supported the group every step of the way and the progress they have made in such a short space of time is outstanding. We hope they continue to flourish in their construction journey, whether that’s at the College or in the workplace.”