Edinburgh MSP meets canal college® Falkirk!

Gordon Macdonald, MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, visited our canal college® programme in Falkirk today to see first-hand the success of the initiative, which returned to the area this year and opened in two brand new areas, Inverness and West Dunbartonshire.

canal college is our pioneering skills, work experience and employability programme using the unique variety of built, natural and cultural heritage on the Forth & Clyde, Caledonian and Union canals to help young people on the pathway to learning and work.


The programme helps young people between 16-30 years who are not in employment, education or training in gain hands on work experience, learn and participate through a rich variety of projects, discover fields of work they are suited to and achieve awards including Saltire and John Muir Awards.

Young people can also gain an SQA in Cultural Heritage, and is currently the only programme of its kind offering this qualification in Scotland.

During his visit to The Falkirk Wheel, the Edinburgh Pentlands MSP met with Scottish Waterways Trust Chief Executive Karen Moore and the young students and volunteer mentors on the programme, learning about all they have achieved so far. Mr Macdonald learned about the fascinating heritage of the area through a guided tour created and delivered by the young participants, and rolled up his sleeves to try a little stone-carving.


The three-year, £1.4m canal college programme is funded by 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. .

Commenting on the programme, Mr Macdonald said:

This is a fantastic heritage skills training programme that supports young people into employment.  It gives them an opportunity to undertake a wide range of practical projects relating to management and maintenance of canals whilst also preserving our heritage.  The value of canal college is clearly demonstrated by the fact that most students who complete the course move into work, education, or further training.

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

We’re delighted to be hosting this visit for Mr Macdonald which will provide him with the opportunity to learn more about how canal college is helping young people on the path to work.

From our successful canal college pilot programme, which ran in Falkirk and Edinburgh, we know that over 70% of those taking part move into work, further education or training as a result of the programme.

We’re extremely proud of all of our young people who have worked hard to make some amazing achievements so far.

For more information on canal college in Falkirk or to join the programme as a young participant or volunteer mentor contact Charlie Lyons on 07789 942177.

Read more about canal college across Scotland.