Skills Academy launched

Representatives of the partners involved with young apprentices and school pupils.
Representatives of the partners involved with young apprentices and school pupils.

Youngsters are being encouraged to build a career in the construction industry through a groundbreaking partnership.

North Lanarkshire Council, along with New College Lanarkshire, MEARS, Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority, took over a disused building within Bellshill Academy and spent £40,000 converting it into a specialist craft Skills Academy.

Councillor Jim Logue, convener of learning and leisure services, quipped: “What better foundation is there for young people seeking lifelong careers?

“In all seriousness though, the council is committed to removing the scourge of unemployment from our young people and this investment, tens of thousands of pounds, is a vital step towards that goal.

“The new academy will provide young people with the opportunity to progress from the 13 vocational construction centres within our schools to a more advanced course at the Skills Academy.

“This then allows them to focus on the standards needed for direct entry into modern apprenticeships in the construction industry.”

The Academy aims to create opportunities for pupils to move directly into employment, college and training, and will be open to all senior pupils from schools across North Lanarkshire.

Isabelle Boyd, head of Education Standards and Inclusion, stressed the importance of the new facility.

She said: “The three ‘Ps’ which we hear most often around the successful senior phase of curriculum for excellence are partnership, progression and pathways.

“This development fulfils all of these in one go. It is real partnership working, providing clear pathways and progression for young people from school to work.”

Young apprentices will be given the opportunity to learn from leading industry experts and enhance their occupational skills.

In addition, the youngsters will be offered work related opportunities with local employers.

Mears director Steve Kelly said: “We are delighted to be involved in this fantastic new Skills Academy in partnership with the council, the college and Skills Development.

“It will equip young adults with the necessary skills and knowledge to compete for a future apprenticeship.”