A two-day traditional building skills event held at the Scottish Parliament last week (11-12 September) let school pupils get a taste of construction trades.
The hands-on practical workshops provided 13 to 15-year olds with the chance to discover more about traditional skills apprenticeships, and have a go for themselves.
Scottish secondary pupils tried their hands at roof slating, stonemasonry, joinery and painting and decorating, expertly assisted by current Modern Apprentices in these trades.
The roofing demonstrations were arranged by the National Federation of Roofing Contractors. Peter Treacy, NFRC’s Scotland Regional Chairman said: “The NFRC has been involved in delivering roof slating and roof leadwork demonstrations for school pupils to promote construction as a career of choice.
“The NFRC takes a proactive position on addressing the skills gap in the industry and have been involved in the development and delivery of ‘Roofing in the Classroom’ where we go into schools and deliver a more in-depth training experience to pupils so they can make an informed decision about their future careers and encourage them to consider roofing as a career of choice.”
The event was organised by the Scottish Traditional Building Forum as part of Construction Scotland’s, Inspiring Construction programme. Other supporters include CITB, City of Glasgow College, West College Scotland, Dundee and Angus College, Edinburgh College and Developing the Young Workforce.
The skills demonstrations were sponsored by Gordon Lindhurst MSP for Lothian. He said: “Traditional building skills demonstrations are hugely valuable in raising the profile of the vital skills needed to maintain our unique built heritage.
“I hope that by raising the profile of these traditional building skills in this way we can secure the long-term future of Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site and Scotland’s built environment more generally.”
Pointing out that the construction industry currently employs 233,600 people, but that 28% of that workforce is estimated as needing to be replaced by 2027, creating at least 21,000 vacancies, Ken Gillespie, Chair of Construction Scotland added: “Attracting more potential employees to our industry to address this imminent skills gap is one of Construction Scotland’s top priorities.
“These Traditional Building Skills events are part of our Inspiring Construction programme, which aims to attract more school leavers to the sector by informing young people and their parents, teachers and career advisors about the huge and diverse range of careers available in construction, and importantly, how to access them. From professions like architecture, engineering and surveying to the more traditional trades like roofing and stonemasonry, this industry has something to suit everyone.”