Six pupils in West Dunbartonshire are gaining on-site work experience at Queens Quay, the £250million regeneration project on the site of the former John Brown’s shipyard in Clydebank.

The pupils are gaining valuable first-hand experience of what the role of a civil engineer entails, on-site and in the office, as part of their foundation apprenticeships.

Available to senior phase school pupils, Skills Development Scotland developed foundation apprenticeships in partnership with both education and industry, and with support from the European Social Fund.

Typically taking two years to complete, the apprenticeships are taken alongside other subjects and lead to a qualification at the same level as a Higher (SCQF Level 6). Pupils spend part of the school week out of the classroom with a learning provider and in a workplace.

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The students, working with I&H Brown, Muir Construction and George Leslie Ltd, are taking foundation apprenticeships in civil engineering with West College Scotland.

The work-based learning includes involvement in many aspects of the work currently ongoing in Queens Quay, including the marine, road and piping works.

Four of the students, all aged 17, attend St Peter the Apostle High School.

They are Sean Wilson, Paul Martin, and Jack Hepburn, who are working on-site with I&H Brown, and Liam McEvoy who is working with Muir Construction.

Gregg Cochrane, 17, and Andrew McLachlan,18, students from Clydebank High School, are working with I&H Brown and George Leslie Ltd respectively.

Liam is already seeing the benefits of his Foundation Apprenticeship.

He said: “It has also opened my eyes to what it means to be a civil engineer and the patience that is required, that is a lesson no classroom can teach.”

Andrew McCall, West College Scotland’s foundation and apprenticeship employer engagement coordinator, said: “It’s fantastic to have the Queens Quay development right on our doorstep.

“It’s opening up so many opportunities for the local community and for students who have their sights set on careers within the construction and engineering sectors.

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Alistair Campbell, project manager for Dawn Developments, who is part of the Queens Quay project team, said: “The former John Brown Shipyard was a focal point in the lives of generations of people from Clydebank and beyond. The fact that young local people now have the opportunity to start shaping their future careers as part of this transformational development, which is bringing new life to the site and the wider area, is a great source of pride for everyone involved.”

Councillor Iain McLaren, convener of infrastructure, regeneration and economic development at West Dunbartonshire Council, said: “Queens Quay will make a huge difference to the Clydebank community, and I’m delighted the benefits are already being seen by our young people who are gaining valuable on-site engineering experience.”

Graeme Hendry, Skills Development Scotland national manager, said: “Foundation Apprenticeships are closing the gap between the classroom and the workplace, with pupils seeing the benefits.

“Employers are telling us that pupils who have taken a Foundation Apprenticeship are more attractive candidates for apprenticeship jobs.