WEST College Scotland has won a top prize for a unique Skills Academy.

The college, which has a campus in Clydebank, picked up the “Outstanding Business Engagement in Colleges” prize at the Annual Herald HE Awards for its work with construction company AC Whyte in setting up the pioneering training facility.

Liz Connolly, college principal, said: “This is a wonderful achievement by our construction team. With AC Whyte, they have designed a unique and innovative facility which gives apprentices a blend of classroom-based work as well as real-life experience at AC Whyte’s own sites.

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“Students gain SQA-approved qualifications and are guaranteed a job with the company at the end of their course.

“We have had a fantastic relationship with AC Whyte and I’m delighted to say that we have agreed a five-year partnership with them.”

The Skills Academy was launched only last September by the cabinet secretary for finance, Derek MacKay MSP.

Tommy Campbell, the college’s head of construction, added: “This new course has been transformative for the young people on it. In the past, not all students managed to stay the course, but the Skills Academy has seen a 100 per cent retention rate, which is almost unprecedented. This is great for the college, our partners at AC Whyte, who are getting a secure flow of qualified workers and – most importantly – great for our students.”