Post-16 - 'Quite literally paving the way for students to come'

18th October 2013 at 01:00
College offers work experience at campus construction sites

When trees are felled to make way for City of Glasgow College's two new campuses, they won't be sold as firewood: instead, students will learn vital skills by lovingly crafting them into furniture. Meanwhile, stonemasonry students will salvage stone from a building demolished during the project and use it to create a work of art.

These ideas are part of a master plan to ensure that the campuses benefit students long before construction is complete. They will be offered work experience - understood to be both paid and unpaid - and 40 modern apprenticeships will be created on the sites at Cathedral Street and on the banks of the Clyde.

The Scottish government announced pound;228 million of funding for the construction of the two campuses last month. Paul Little, principal of City of Glasgow College, said this represented "unprecedented investment" in the institution.

The early stages of the build have already begun, and when complete the two campuses are set to house 1,200 members of staff and serve 40,000 students each year.

Scotland's biggest college ensured that its contract with Glasgow Learning Quarter, the consortium behind the project, stipulated that students and the community would benefit from the build itself. Targets also include the creation of 170 new jobs.

Students can gain work experience on site or with one of the subcontractors involved in the building programme. College staff are also setting up a variety of curriculum projects and competitions, including the furniture-making and stonemasonry initiatives.

And the project will benefit more young people than just the college's students: members of the working group will visit local primary and secondary schools, including St Francis' Primary, Blackfriars Primary and St Mungo's Academy. They will promote environmental awareness and talk to students about issues such as the dangers associated with construction sites.

Janis Carson, vice-principal at City of Glasgow College, told TESS: "The `community benefits' commitment really makes sense in that it ensures we get the maximum possible benefit for our communities from public spending.

"For our students, the commitment to work experience and training, exciting live projects, competitions, creative enterprises and employment opportunities promise to maximise the benefits of the two fantastic, real- life learning environments right on our doorstep in the shape of our construction sites."

Ms Carson added that a Supported Futures Trust Fund of pound;60,000 set up by the consortium would facilitate academic projects and the creation of furnishings and artwork for the new buildings. "Through this partnership, we are able to involve and enhance the experience of today's students in creating our new college for future generations of students," she said.

Students were delighted to be playing a part in building the new campus, according to Gavin Quinn, president of the college's students' association.

"With employers requiring hard-to-come-by experience, it is a fantastic opportunity for students to gain experience in one of the largest construction sites in the country," he said. "The fact that they will actually be contributing to the future of the college is incredibly exciting and acts as a handover between current students and students of the future.

"We are very proud that our own students are quite literally paving the way for City of Glasgow College students for years to come."

WORKS IN PROGRESS

pound;228m - The cost of building two new campuses on college land

2017 - Expected completion date

1,200 - Members of staff at City of Glasgow College

2,600 - Number of courses offered.

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