Renfrewshire school pupils donned their hard hats and high-vis jackets as they were treated to a behind-the-scenes glimpse of a major project transforming the Clyde waterfront in Renfrew.
The £90.7million Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project is jointly funded by the UK and Scottish governments through the £1.13billion Glasgow City Region City Deal.
Construction is scheduled to start next year on the project, which includes the first opening road bridge over the River Clyde, improving access to work, education, hospitals and leisure for communities on both sides of the river.
Advance clearance works are being led by contractor Daltons Demolitions who presented the career opportunities in demolition to a group of S5 and S6 pupils preparing for life in the construction sector.
Together with a helpful talk on what the job entails, 20 pupils were taken round the site, sat inside an excavator and even tested their skills in a special demolition plant simulator, courtesy of the National Demolition Training Group (NDTG).
James McAllister, Commercial Manager at Daltons Demolition, said: “It was great to welcome the young people on site and give them hands-on experience of what’s involved in working in demolition. I’m sure many of them were surprised to learn that a career in demolition requires special skills and can also pay very well.
“Every job is different with demolition and it can be very interesting as there’s no two buildings the same. We’re the first stage of any redevelopment, the first stage of the rebuilding process.
“My advice to any young person considering demolition or any other part of the construction sector would be to gain the necessary certificates and qualifications, and once you have your foot in the door, turn up on time every day, work hard, show enthusiasm and you’ll go far.”
The pupils are completing the 10-month My Future Pathway Construction programme which aims to ready them for a career in the construction sector.
Activities include a range of taster days, site visits, mock interviews and a two-week work placement as well as the chance to gain the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) card and health and safety certificates.
On successful completion of the programme, the pupils will complete an interview for a Modern Apprenticeship.
Liam Donnelly, 16, an S5 pupil at Gryffe High School said: “I was thinking about doing construction and this course has given me the chance to learn more about what’s involved. I really enjoyed the visit, especially doing the virtual reality simulator, which was difficult to handle, and learning about all the different machines. I’ve a brother who lives in Australia and I’d like to go out there to work in construction with him.”
Darren Young, 17, in S6 at Johnstone High, said: “The simulator was quite hard at first, but once you got the hang of it, I was fine. I planned to do joinery, but after seeing this I’d be keen to learn more. It was interesting seeing how you transform a site and get it ready for a new project. I want to do an apprenticeship so this programme is helping me towards that.”
The Daltons event and all visits and placements on the programme are delivered through community benefits, which are commitments from companies who secure a Council contract to provide educational and community-focused opportunities.
Councillor John Shaw is Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Finance, Resources and Customer Services Policy Board, which oversees contract awards.
He said: “Community benefits are a vital part of all council contracts and we have a dedicated team working hard to identify the opportunities that will bring the greatest benefit to Renfrewshire residents, consulting closely with the local business community. Education is a hugely important focus for us and I’m sure the pupils learned a lot from such a unique experience that Daltons provided.
“The Clyde Waterfront and Renfrew Riverside project will bring lots of construction companies to the area, with plenty of jobs to build the bridge and the surrounding roads and I’d encourage school leavers to contact our Invest in Renfrewshire team to find out more about how they can get ready to gain employment.”