Far from sitting on its laurels as the flagship center of excellence of the Scottish construction industry, South Lanarkshire College is completely focused on building a stronger, more prosperous future for everyone.
The building industry has always had to be versatile and change with the times. The aim of establishing a low-carbon society must always be adapted to factors such as available materials, modern building techniques, architectural styles, and more recently.
It has historically been one of, along with transportation, the major contributors to carbon emissions. So it’s changing things. Its environmental knowledge and reputation are being strengthened by the industry.
At South Lanarkshire College, the Department of Civil Engineering is at the forefront of the initiative, developing a curriculum for green energy and providing courses that include implementation, maintenance and training for micro-renewable energy.
“We need to be at the center of this,”We need to be at the center of this. For plumbing and gas, that’s particularly true. We’re also training roofers and tilers to install solar systems.
“We also deal with heat pumps and photovoltaics from ground and air sources. The secret is sustainability and the right fabric for construction, and as part of their qualification, they learn these skills. They need to be top-notch craftsmen, but they need to know and appreciate green buildings as well.
The faculty is an incredibly important provider of construction and training facilities in Scotland and is known for the quality of its services as a flagship center. Its history dates back to 1948, when it was the School of Building based in Cambuslang.
In that time, we had some excellent achievements, and some of our students have gone on to lead major companies and ventures,” says McLaren, a former school student and a skilled mason himself. We have focused on practical trade skills throughout our history and have always had very good industry connections. We try to respond as best we can, and that connection with businesses is gettingtttt.”
Around 800 students participate annually in access programs working towards apprenticeships, while around 600 others are in similar courses and have already completed apprenticeships.
Woodworking, plumbing, painting and decorating, troweling, built environment and HND are among the curriculum areas. The college’s specific classes, both at SVQ2 level, include new home construction and timber frame installation.
The faculty is one of only two in Scotland piloting the construction of the new Pathway to Apprenticeship program. This was created by the industry to improve recruiting and speed up the pipeline of skills. McLaren explains, “Our role is not only to upskill students, but also to act as a recruitment center,”
Currently, faculty are responding to business demands to create further credentials and set up two new skills academies.
In collaboration with specialist construction firms such as GMG Contracts and AC White, one of these, the Insulated Make Skills Academy, is being set up. “The two companies are working closely with us on the technical specifications of the training facilities and the training content required. However, the partnership and delivery needs go beyond that.”
Again, the initiative is linked to the agenda for decarbonization. It is directly related to the sustainability programs of the government and the Green Economy Fund provides much of the financial support for this academy.
This is done through the Energy Skills Collaboration, a long-standing and fruitful relationship in which the College already has.
In collaboration with another company, Linear Contracts and Linear Ventures, a parallel facility, the Ceiling Fixing and Dry Lining Academy, is being built. The organization recognised the need for the right mix of skills to classify prospective workers. Over several months, we developed this concept,”We developed this concept over several months,”
“We place and train students in an entry-level program. Then they will do an internship at Linear for the next year, which will be like an extended job interview.
The organization will take an interest in the learners in the process. Those participating in the program would have the ability to find out if this sector is involved in the program.