All eyes have been on Glasgow as we host COP26, we have welcomed over 120 Heads of State and 20,000 delegates. Contractor A.C. Whyte carried out a three-week run of activity in partnership with Renfrewshire Councils ‘My Future Pathways’ Construction Programme.
The activity started on Wednesday the 21st October and spanned the period COP26 has been in town. A.C. Whyte launched with an event that brought all 23 Renfrewshire Council school students involved in the programme to their head office in Barrhead to hear first-hand how the energy efficiency works A.C. Whyte deliver will support the journey to net zero.
Perhaps more excitingly to get hands experience trying out some of the trades involved in external wall insulation, including boarding, plastering, and roughcasting. Jessica Dradge, Development Officer for Engaging Learners at Renfrewshire Council and Lead of Construction Programme explained: “The My Future Pathway Construction programme has been running for 3 years and is designed to raise awareness of what life would be like as a construction worker. MFP aims to empower pupils, building on the self-belief required for young people to make informed decisions around post school opportunities within construction.”
“The programme has been invaluable for young people, it really has given them the confidence and the hands-on experience required to successfully transition into construction roles. Due to the ever-changing construction landscape, schools are often unable to keep up to date with what is available for our young people. Delivering My Future Pathways with employers such as A.C. Whyte really raises young people’s awareness of the variety of roles available in construction with particular focus on the green, energy efficiency sectors”
Marie-Claire Futamata – Senior Phase Development Officer for Renfrewshire Council and Deputy Head Teacher at Gleniffer High School said: “The My Future Pathways Programme is an excellent opportunity for young people to see what life is really like out in the construction industry, its hands on experience, its practical and students are learning out with the classroom environment, which is what they really enjoy. You could see how engaged and ready they all were to get started on the activities with A.C. Whyte.”
Jenna Wilson, who designed and delivered the programme along side her A.C. Whyte colleagues said: “With world leading, ambitious targets for net zero, Scotland needs a carbon army and it is essential that we attract talent to our sector in order to deliver on our ambitions. It’s been a pleasure to help inform, and possibly shape the minds of the future. A few students expressed a real interest and showed talent in our works and we look forward to contributing to their development over the coming weeks.”
A.C. Whyte launched their own Energy Efficiency Skills Academy in partnership with West College Scotland. Now in it’s fourth year, the academy invites local candidates or, ‘Akademos’ as they are known, to join the unique training course, a blend of in college and on-site learning. The academy provides targeted training specific to the requirements of external wall insulation, allowing students to graduate into guaranteed, full-time employment with A.C. Whyte on successful completion of the 1-year course.
Jenna said: “Engaging with My Future Pathways allows us to educate students on the opportunities and careers available with our business and our Skills Academy model provides an access route to these roles. A.C. Whyte are creating local training and local jobs that provide students like this with real tangible opportunities that will underpin our just transition to net zero.”
The activity appealed to everyone’s competitive side as the students were pitched against the teacher in a ‘Beat the teacher competition’. Marie-Claire Futamata, Jessica Dradge and Darren Conway Economic Development Officer at Renfrewshire Council got suited up to join the hands on activity, giving it their best shot.
Marie-Claire said: “I took part in the ‘beat the teacher’ exercise and really enjoyed it, it was great fun, it was very labour intensive but thoroughly enjoyed myself and so did the young adults.”
Jenna concluded by saying: “A.C. Whyte welcome opportunities to collaborate and partner with our Local Authority clients to deliver programmes such as this, nurturing our sectors future talent is a responsibility we embrace.”