A new pilot programme, funded by Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Fife and the Interreg RIGHT project, and supported by Fife Council Employability Service and Culture of Enterprise, has been launched enabling 60 pupils from four of Fife’s high schools to gain an introduction into the construction sector.
The Westrigg Windfarm Project consisted of three days of site visits where young people worked together to plan and construct a working wind turbine and powerhouse from two-dimensional drawings. The young people were split into teams and had to assign themselves roles and plan on how to tackle the challenge of building the wind turbine. They were supported with the more technical aspects of the project but had to problem solve most of the planning themselves and were allowed to make mistakes. They were responsible for preparing the site, excavating, constructing the turbine, and wiring and electrics to make it a fully functioning wind turbine.
Speaking of the project, Ryan Hepburn, DYW Fife Lead at Fife Council, said:
“The project has exposed our young people to the construction sector, providing simulated hands-on experience and through this multi-phased development programme, makes our young people better equipped for the world of work.
“The enthusiasm shown by the young people and the collaboration of all involved to make the project a success has been fantastic.
“Providing such opportunities to learn about construction and renewables will hopefully allow our young people to make more informed decisions regarding their future career path.”
Brian O’donnell from the RIGHT project added:
“The RIGHT project has taught us that we need to create more opportunities for learning the skills required for the energy transition, from construction through to decommissioning. Projects such as the windfarm project are essential in achieving this aim.
“The young people were very engaged and have had the opportunity to learn some very useful, real world practical skills. Even just the experience of being on a building site will serve them well by giving them more confidence in the work situation.”
The project was delivered by ConStructEd Scotland at the Sibbald Training Facility in Armadale. The pupils also took part in an e-learning Site Awareness course and a one-day Site Safety Plus course prior to attending the site. The students are now being supported to complete the CSCS (Construction Skills Certificate Scheme) touch screen test, which is a minimum standard requirement for anyone wishing to work on a construction site.
Dale Lyon from ConStuctEd Scotland said:
“This was an opportunity well taken by Fife Council and its partners to give some of their young people the opportunity to develop their employability skills within a live working environment prior to launch of the project across the wider Scottish Schools network.
“The young people visibly matured as their projects progressed, becoming more confident as individuals but even more effective as team players and leaders as they delivered their functioning wind turbines and powerhouses safely, on time and within budget with a degree of quality to their workmanship.
“Anyone of them, on the completion of their CSCS touch screen test, would be a great addition to anyone’s workforce whether in or out with the construction industry.”
Pupils from St Columba’s RC High School, Queen Anne High School, Lochgelly High School and Beath High School participated in the project.
Jake Telford, an S6 pupil at Beath High School reflected:
“I really enjoyed being outdoors and getting hands on experience. I felt I gained more confidence in my ability to use my own judgement and work as part of a team.”
Kian Hendry, also an S6 pupil at Beath High School added:
“I was able to learn so many new things throughout the three days. I am delighted that I can now apply for my CSCS card.”