Canal College was a heritage skills focused employability project which helped people boost their life and work chances whilst protecting the nation’s canal heritage. We delivered it until August 2021.
The programme helped people to:
- Gain real practical work experience
- Earn a variety of recognised awards and qualifications
- Overcome barriers to work and education
- Build confidence and self-esteem
- Enjoy the health and wellbeing benefits of working outdoors
- Enhance their communication and social skills
- Move forward with their lives, better skilled and equipped for the job market
The canal college training programme was available in three locations across Scotland: Falkirk, Inverness and West Dunbartonshire. It was aimed at people aged 16+ who were not in employment and who were looking to progress into a job, further education or training.
During the programme, participants undertook a wide range of practical projects helping conserve and enhance the built, natural and cultural heritage of three of Scotland's 200-year-old canals: the Forth & Clyde, Union and Caledonian canals.
- Canalside archaeology
- Forestry and conservation
- Canalside maintenance and engineering
- Stone carving and stone repair
- Pathwork and woodwork
- Management of vegetation and invasive species
Taking part helped people build confidence, make friends and experience team-working. It also supported a move towards employment boosting CV qualifications in Cultural Heritage and Working Safely and awards like the John Muir Award and Heritage Hero award.
“I was part of a young team that was constantly getting in trouble. My social worker suggested I try Canal College but it was not easy to socialise with new people after being involved with a crew for so long. Getting away from drugs and crime and putting myself out of my comfort zone was hard. But no one judges you here, they take you at face value and everyone gets treated the same. It has really helped give me focus and helped me move away from my old life.”
David, Canal College, West Dunbartonshire