Chancellor Opens Gorbals Skills Academy

January 5, 2009 by  
Filed under Features, Glasgow South, Local News

Glasgow’s new Construction Skills Academy was opened by the Rt Hon Alistair Darling MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Chancellor took time out from dealing with the worst economic downturn in a generation to tour the facility and meet some of the young people who are preparing for careers in the building trade. The Academy is based at the former St John’s Primary School in Gorbals.

Short courses started running in August 2008 and 266 training places will be provided during the academy’s first year. Once fully operational, up to 400 individuals a year can be trained. Among those targeted will be people who are not in employment, education or training, including the 16-24 year old age group, many of whom have left school and gone into short-term employment or have not yet entered the employment market.

Mr Darling said: ‘This academy is really important, especially at a time like this when things are slowing down. Now, it’s all the more important to make sure we have the right skills and training. In Glasgow, there are tremendous opportunities in the construction industry as we work towards the Commonwealth Games in six years’ time.’

During his tour of the academy, Alistair Darling met Jennifer Breaden, 18, from Cardonald. Jennifer achieved five highers while she was a pupil at Lourdes Secondary and is working towards an SVQ level 3 in plumbing. Jennifer is the only female plumber taking the course. She told the Chancellor that she was following the same career path as her dad, also a plumber, and that she intends to set up her own business once she has learned the trade.

As well as offering training in skills such as joinery and plumbing, the academy has an outdoor area where students can learn how to handle heavy plant such as JCBs. There are distinctive Nissen huts in the yard where training can continue in poor weather conditions.