Minister joins canal college® students to restore historic weir in Falkirk

Minister for Employability and Training, Jamie Hepburn MSP joined students on a pioneering skills development programme at the start of a new project to repair a historic weir on the Union Canal today (Tuesday 7th November).

The Minister joined in with some traditional lime mortaring work to help get the repair project on the 200-year-old structure in Falkirk started.

The project is part of canal college, Scottish Waterways Trust’s work experience and employability programme for 16-30 year olds based on the Forth & Clyde, Caledonian and Union canals.

Work on the project will count towards the students gaining an SQA Level 2 Cultural Heritage Award among other qualifications. canal college is the only programme in the country offering people the opportunity to work towards the Cultural Heritage Award.

Glen Weir, built in the 1800’s, helps to remove surplus water from the canal at times of heavy rain, preventing flooding and erosion of the canal banks.

Over the coming months, young people will repair the weir through a range of activities from vegetation clearance through to lime-mortaring and stonework.

Using traditional skills to cut and fit stone, canal college will make repairs to gaps in the cobblestones lining the weir, removing any loose materials.

Employability Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

Scottish Waterways Trust’s canal college does a fantastic job of working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds helping them to rebuild their confidence and gain practical skills for the future. I am delighted to have the opportunity to see these young people in action today doing a marvellous job of enhancing the waterways and improving our environment.

Over the next three years 360 students will carry out similar heritage projects to enhance and safeguard Scotland’s canal heritage while learning new skills.

Karen Moore, Chief Executive of Scottish Waterways Trust, said:

As well as enhancing their employment prospects, young people are leaving a lasting legacy for local people and visitors to the canal alike by safeguarding this nationally important heritage asset for the future.

The entire canal college programme is based outdoors which makes it stand out from any other employability programme. This aspect to it is what appeals most to those taking part who may not have been attracted by a traditional learning environment.

For more information about canal college visit our page or contact Alan Forrester on / 07768 951740


Issued by Rose Henderson, telephone 01324 677817, of Scottish Waterways Trust

Scottish Waterways Trust (SWT)
• SWT creates brighter futures for people, wildlife and communities along Scotland’s canals
• By connecting people with the heritage, wildlife and green open spaces of the Scottish canals, SWT inspires people to get active, improve their health and mental well-being, employment prospects and community life
• canal college has been designed by Scottish Waterways Trust to help tackle youth unemployment in Falkirk, Inverness and West Dunbartonshire
• canal college is funded by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, Avondale Environmental through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund, The Robertson Trust and The National Third Sector Fund and supported by Scottish Canals and MacKenzie Construction
• Find out more at