Building on strong foundations at West Lothian College

Former Armadale Academy pupil, Aaron Charge, 17, from Bathgate secured a full time job with a company working on the Winchburgh development and is being sponsored by the company through a four-year graduate apprenticeship at Heriot-Watt University.

Aaron attended West Lothian College two days a week to complete a Civil Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship in his sixth year at school along with the Highers he was taking.

At the end of his course Aaron presented his project work to an audience of fellow students, lecturers and industry experts. Andrew Linton from I & H Brown was so impressed by his presentation he offered Aaron a work placement over the summer on their recent project at the Winchburgh development site.

During the eight-week placement Aaron put what he had learned at college into practice and continued learning on site. When the placement ended I & H Brown offered Aaron a full time job along with a four-year Graduate Apprenticeship at Heriot Watt University.

Civil engineering lecturer Julie Hyslop said: “Aaron’s work was exemplary from the start and we are absolutely delighted for his personal achievements. We have no doubt he will thrive in his career with I & H Brown and in his graduate apprenticeship at Heriot-Watt.”

Winchburgh Developments Ltd and I & H Brown are committed to supporting West Lothian College students to equip them with practical skills, experience and knowledge of the construction industry.

Graham Clark, head of construction at West Lothian College said: “The partnership between the college, Winchburgh Developments and I & H Brown has been a great success. Together we are committed to providing students with opportunities that help them build careers in the construction industry. Penny Lochhead and John Hamilton from Winchburgh Developments Ltd have been instrumental in creating opportunities for our students.”

John Hamilton, chief executive of Winchburgh Developments Ltd said: “I & H Brown is going beyond expectations in its investment in long term community and social benefits associated with the award of the first of our Phase 2 works contracts. We see this as the start of many employment and community opportunities that will be created as further investment is made in Winchburgh's infrastructure and development programmes over the next 15 years. We're delighted to have received this level of commitment from I & H Brown at this early stage in working with West Lothian College.”

Foundation Apprenticeships are delivered by colleges and available to school pupils in fifth and sixth year at school. They support industry requirements and ensure that young people are skilled and ready for the opportunities of tomorrow. Graduate apprenticeships are a new type of degree which combine work-based learning and university education. Companies can recommend an existing employee to undertake a graduate apprenticeship or hire a new member of staff to do so.