canal college® students celebrate across the country

Young people across Scotland are celebrating after taking part in canal college®, a pioneering skills and employability programme led by Scottish Waterways Trust and centred around three of the nation’s historic canals.

canal college® is Scottish Waterways Trust’s flagship employability and training initiative aimed at getting 16-30 year olds into work. Offering almost exclusively outdoor, hands on learning along the Forth & Clyde, Union and Caledonian Canals, students work towards a new SQA Level 2 Certificate in Cultural Heritage during each 14 week programmes.

Students from West Dunbartonshire, Falkirk and Inverness took part in celebrations across the country where they showed some of the practical cultural, natural and built heritage skills they’ve learned to friends, family and support workers and received a variety of CV boosting awards and certificates.

The £1.4m canal college programme will reach 360 unemployed young people across Scotland over three years.


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

We are delighted to celebrate with our canal college students who have worked so hard to earn CV-boosting awards and certificates, including working towards a new SQA in Cultural Heritage.

As well as gaining vital self-confidence, and learning practical heritage and life skills, young people have made a huge difference to their local canal environment through a range of hands-on projects including archaeological surveying, stonework and vegetation management.

We know from our canal college pilot project that over 70% of those young people taking part move into a positive destination including employment, further education and training.

We wish all of our young people the best of luck in the future as they unlock their full potential and we hope to welcome many more young people and volunteer mentors onto the programme over the coming years.


Jacqueline Hillis, Customer Operations Manager at Scottish Canals, added:

Scottish Canals is exceptionally proud to support canal college. The project has been a resounding success and saw young people learn vital skills while helping to care for the incredible environments of the nation’s canals.

Our staff, who helped train the students in everything from stonemasonry to archaeological surveying, were impressed by their dedication, commitment and willingness to learn. We wish them all the best for the future.


The next 14-week canal college programme starts in early September and recruitment is already underway. Young people and volunteer mentors can join in by contacting Scottish Waterways Trust on 01324 677809.

canal college is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Avondale Environmental through the Scottish Landfill Communities Fund, The Robertson Trust and the National Third Sector Fund. The programme is also supported by Scottish Canals and MacKenzie Construction.