ANGUS Council and Angus College hope to form closer ties which will help in preparing students for employment, among other things.
Arbroath councillor Jim Millar met with senior staff from the college’s construction department last week to discuss the possibility of closer collaboration.
Speaking after the meeting he said: “Angus College is a hugely important institution at the very heart of the community. It has provided many thousands of local people with important skills and qualifications that have allowed them to move into employment.
“But with recent Scottish Government budget cuts, jobs and student places are under threat. This is why I want to ensure that the council does all it can to maximise the opportunities available for students, and to support Angus College.
“Although we already work with the college to provide training opportunities, Angus Council is once more building affordable homes, and we already have a clause in all contracts that ensures training is made available as part of that work. This puts Angus College in an ideal position to deliver hands-on training in a real working environment for its current and future construction students.”
Councillor Millar continued: “The council and the college will be hosting a seminar and presentation next year for construction companies so that they can see for themselves what Angus College has to offer, and a report will be brought forward as soon as possible to the council’s neighbourhood services committee which will give members the opportunity to scrutinise any proposals and suggest changes.”
Colin Johnson, the construction curriculum manager at Angus College, added: “This was a very productive meeting which allowed us to explore opportunities for our students.
“Research has shown that when tradespeople leave the construction industry in order to work in another sector, they rarely return, and this means that it is vital that we train people in these important skills which play an enormous part in the local and national economy.
“The lack of apprentice training currently taking place is frightening and we at Angus College have seen a fall of approximately 60 per cent over the last three years in new apprentices attending the college. This is fairly well replicated across the country.
“If we do not increase training opportunities in the construction sector soon, we will end up with a huge skills shortage in the industry and I see this partnership as one opportunity to help address this problem.”