A group of 60 pupils from Armadale Academy in West Lothian had the opportunity to learn from local construction businesses and discover the diverse and rewarding careers in the industry. The Build Your Future initiative, organised by the West Lothian Construction Forum, aimed to inspire the young students and showcase the traditional skills involved in various trades.
A joint effort to promote the construction industry
The pilot programme, which took place on January 30, 2024, was a joint effort by several Scottish construction companies, including Taylor Roofs, McIntyre Masonry, Newtown Renovations, Land Technology, and J. Sives Surfacing. Each business demonstrated their respective skills and expertise to the second and third year pupils, who participated in interactive sessions on roofing, stonemasonry, joinery, and monobloc.
Jamie Taylor, managing director of Taylor Roofs and chairman of the West Lothian Construction Forum, said: “It’s vital that we try our hardest to keep the traditional skills alive. The idea behind this programme is that we give the youngsters an insight into construction and what a career in the industry might look for them.”
Taylor added that this was the first programme of its kind in West Lothian and thanked all the companies involved for agreeing to participate. He expressed his hope that more businesses would join the initiative and help make a positive impact on the future of West Lothian’s construction industry.
A vision to support growth, collaboration, and skills development
The West Lothian Construction Forum is a network of local businesses that aims to promote the growth of the construction industry and help overcome industry-wide challenges, such as difficulty recruiting and rising costs. The Forum’s vision is based on three pillars: promoting the construction industry in general, and more specifically, to young people as an exciting career option; encouraging collaboration between West Lothian businesses within the industry; and supporting the training and upskilling of existing employees within the industry.
John McKinney, Scottish Traditional Building Forum co-ordinator, said: “The aim of Build Your Future is to raise the profile of the many and diverse careers in construction to young people throughout Scotland. Not many young people have the opportunity to receive insights into construction to help them make their career decisions and Build Your Future is delivered to give young people that insight to help them in their career choices.”
McKinney also highlighted the importance of preserving and passing on the traditional skills that are essential for maintaining and restoring Scotland’s built heritage.
A positive feedback from the students and teachers
The Build Your Future programme received a positive feedback from the students and teachers who participated in it. The students said they enjoyed the hands-on experience and learned a lot about the different aspects of construction. They also said they gained a better understanding of the opportunities and benefits of working in the industry.
The teachers praised the programme for being informative, engaging, and inspiring. They said they appreciated the efforts of the construction businesses and the Forum to organise the programme and share their knowledge and passion with the students. They also said they hoped to see more such programmes in the future and to collaborate with the Forum and the businesses to support the students’ career aspirations.