Nicolson pupils learn about careers in construction

Pupils of the Nicolson Institute received a careers talk from GRAHAM Construction, the main contractor for the refurbishment work on Lews Castle.

Pupils heard about the many different routes into the construction industry and the opportunities which are available to them after leaving school.

Next month sixth formers from the college will go on a site visit to Lews Castle, the Victorian Grade A listed building, which GRAHAM is refurbishing.

The work includes a new museum and archive extension on the site of the former glasshouses as well as extensive works to repair and restore the historic interior of the Castle located west of Stornoway.

Work experience opportunities have also been offered to students from Lews Castle College and the Nicolson Institute, with four engineering students from the college scheduled to start placements during the Easter break.

As part of its commitment to the local community, almost half of the people (43%) employed on the contract are residents of the Western Isles whilst 45% of sub-contractors are also local.

Each sub-contractor has also been offered full funding of SVQ’s to upskill their workforce.

Once completed, the museum, which will be the first in the UK to use Gaelic as its first language, will form a key visitor destination and gateway to a unique heritage network across the 15 inhabited islands of the Outer Hebrides.

It will display the collections of Museum nan Eilean (MnE) while enhancing the work of over 20 community heritage organisations which have been actively preserving and promoting the language and local culture of their Gaelic communities for the last 30 years and have collected photographs, documents and memorabilia on a scale unparalleled elsewhere in the UK.

The establishment of the islands’ first ever civic archive facility will mean that collections currently held at the National Archives of Scotland can return to the islands while state-of-the art museum facilities will allow collections from the British Museum, such as the Lewis Chessmen, and the National Museum of Scotland to be exhibited there.

There will also be new learning and community facilities which will open up exciting opportunities for schools and community groups.

Gary Holmes, Regional Director at GRAHAM Construction said: “Construction is a fantastic career path for young people.

“It employs around 10 %of the UK’s overall workforce and there are many different routes for entry.

“GRAHAM actively promotes apprenticeships in the communities we work in, engaging with schools and colleges to discuss the options available.

“14% of our Scottish employees are involved in learning schemes and we have a range of initiatives in place to recruit, up-skill and employ apprentices.

“Lews Castle has be an excellent project to lead and part of our legacy will be the number of local people which have been involved in the job.”

GRAHAM Construction is a member of the “5% Club”, an organisation consisting of companies committed to ensuring 5% of their workforce over the next five years is comprised of young people on structured learning schemes.

Work on the Castle is expected to complete in Autumn 2016.