Falkirk canal college could be key to jobs

Students will work on projects at the canal and Wheel
Students will work on projects at the canal and Wheel

Young people have a unique opportunity to gain new skills thanks to an innovative outdoor programme.

Funded by almost £470,000 of grant cash, canal college opens in Falkirk on Monday and will be run by the Scottish Waterways Trust.

It will offer 16-25-year-olds who are not currently in education, employment or training a chance to gain work experience and a wide range of practical skills through projects on the Forth & Clyde canal and at The Falkirk Wheel.

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The organisers are also on the lookout for people over 25, whether they are unemployed or retired, who would like to become volunteer mentors supporting the young people. They will also be able to benefit by achieving the same skills, outdoor learning and have an opportunity to achieve awards alongside the students.

The project is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the European Union, Scottish Natural Heritage and Scottish Canals. It will run for two years and offer 12 part-time courses, each running for 14 weeks from 10 a.m. till 4 p.m. on Mondays and Tuesdays.

Karen Moore, Scottish Waterways Trust chief executive, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for young people who want to get on the path to work but need some help, whether it’s developing new skills, gaining more confidence or boosting their CV with practical work experience and a clutch of awards. Canal college will make a real difference to the waterside environment.”

Appealing for mentors, Alan Forrester of the Scottish Waterways Trust said: “We’re keen to hear from anyone who has the skills to help us teach landscaping, tree and vegetation management, stonework, carpentry, wildlife conseervation, trail creation, engineering and maintenance.

“We also welcome volunteers who perhaps don’t have the hard skills but who can make a difference by helping us develop the softer skills, motivating the young people and giving them more confidence to stretch themselves.”

To find out more, call Alan on 07768 951740.