Staff and pupils welcomed Employability & Training Minister Jamie Hepburn to Brechin Community Campus this week to see the resources and opportunities provided by the Construction Learning Centre.
The Construction Learning Centre, built with Scottish Future Trust funds, helps to provide a 21st Century link between the worlds of education and work. It delivers high quality vocational education through connectivity and cooperation between Forster Group, Angus Council and Brechin High School, as well as Dundee & Angus College and other local construction employers.
From its campus base, the centre introduces young people (and not just those educated at Brechin High School) to the construction industry and the career opportunities provided in that sector. That includes all the building trades, as well as associated employment such as quantity surveying and architecture. It supports the curriculum by putting academic courses into practical use within training programmes and delivering a recognised end product, qualification or certificate.
Running multiple interventions in the learning centre ensures that any distinction between pupils and adults fade and everyone is a learner and an equal in the centre. For the campus, the regular activity of construction learning on site has seen demand grow for the courses and has provided the learners involved an experiential introduction to careers in the construction and build environment.
As well as meeting school pupils and staff, the Minister also spoke with apprentices and staff from Dundee & Angus College and the Forster Group about this innovative approach to Developing the Young Workforce.
Mr Hepburn said: “We are continuing to enhance the apprenticeship opportunities available to provide the right balance of skills to meet the needs of employers and the economy, including prioritising higher skilled apprenticeships and STEM occupations.”
Colette Filipi, Service Development Manager at Skills Development Scotland, added: “The Construction Learning centre has a truly innovative approach to work-based learning which showcases the benefit of engaging with young learners, both for young people and industry. It was fantastic to meet the learners from the centre, to hear about their experiences and how the centre has impacted on their lives and future career plans.”
Since opening its doors last October, the centre has been used for –
1. Design & Build (SCQFL4) pilot, an innovative approach introducing 3rd year pupils to construction and the built environment through project based learning. Learners have been on this course for the academic year, half day every Friday and have just completed the construction phase. The focus for the visit is this pilot qualification and the learners will talk the Minister through the different elements of the learning. Work is underway designing a SCQFL5 Design and Build pilot to feed into the MA/FA pathways.
2. Foundation Apprentices in Civil Engineering, a first for Angus this FA is delivered by Dundee and Angus College on site at the Campus. 5th year pupils on the course will be on hand to share their experiences with the Minister. CECA Scotland has been supportive throughout and worked with Dundee and Angus College to secure work experience placements for the second year of the program.
3. Modern Apprentices Roof Tiling in New Build. 13 apprentices started their residential off site training in the centre in January 2018, a further 12 apprentices completed their ‘skills test’ week in April 2018, a new intake of 12 apprentices is scheduled for August 2018 with a residential start of January 2019. 33 apprentices have qualified or progressing through the Skills Academy since its first residential program in 2014. The next intake will take the total numbers to 55 new entrants into the home building sector. The Forster Skills Academy became an SQA accredited centre in 2017.
4. Hub for Meetings & Training & Experience Placements. During the school holiday periods the centre is being used to host variety of courses including site safety, first aid, supplier training and hold various meetings. The local construction training group will be based on site. Strong relationships have been made and arrangements are based on collaboration and sharing resources rather than commercial contracts. Contacts have been made with local providers of services for young people not in employment, education or training with a view to using the facilities as a resource and experience placements.
Pictured above (left to right) are - Fiona Campbell, SDS; Cara Hilton, CECA Scotland; John Mitchell, Dundee & Angus College: Mitch Rennie, Dundee & Angus College; Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Employability and Training; and Maureen Douglas, Forster Group; along with some of the pupils form the Design & Build pilot level 4 course.