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West College Scotland has outlined its vision to be to be one of the most sustainable colleges in Scotland. As part of this ambition, we as a College are committed to developing and incorporating learning on sustainable practices into our curriculum. Our Foundation Apprenticeship in Construction is doing just that with a group of young FA’s from West College Scotland’s Paisley campus who have impressed their Work Based Challenge partners, Morrison Construction with their sustainable construction skills!

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The pupils from schools across East Renfrewshire attended the course at Barrhead High School, delivered by West College Scotland Construction team. The group included Conal Best and Conlaoth Smith from St Ninians High School, Mark Gustavsen from Barrhead High, Connor Keenan of St Luke's High School and Cormac Stewart from Mearns Castle High School have been showcasing their environmentally friendly talents in Carpentry, Joinery and Painting and Decorating through a work-based challenge as part of their Foundation Apprenticeships which they are completing as part of their secondary school studies.

The challenge was set by the College’s partner, Morrison Construction which saw the group being tasked with making furniture using recycled timber. The students got to work carrying out their research, before providing Morrison Construction’s Communities and Social Impact Managers, Paula Leca and Laura Wilson with their two proposals.

A Berlin Chair was chosen, designed by the Dutch furniture designer and architect Gerrit Rietveld (1888-1964) in 1923 for an interior at the 'Juryfrei Kuntschau', an art exhibition in Berlin. The original was made from Oak planks, but the students made theirs from recycled timber provided by West College Scotland, Paisley Campus and a group of the College’s apprentice joiners assessed the finished models.

The timber was repurposed from several places including used stair spindles, door frames and panels from previously used projects and used to produce numerus chairs, under the guidance of lecturer Fergus Crawford. The chairs were then painted using water-based paint overseen by lecturer John Sloan.

Regular updates were supplied throughout the process to Morrison Construction, on progress and then final product exhibited.

Paula Leca from Morrisons Construction said,

“The Foundation Apprentices have used previously discarded waste timber, destined for a recycling skip, and produced a stunning set of chairs. They should be very proud of their achievement and the skills they have shown, to execute the work-place challenge as part of their qualification”.

Derek Smillie, Curriculum Quality Leader for Construction at West College Scotland said “The Foundation Apprentices really enjoyed the process of producing a workshop drawing and making a real full-sized chair, that they could take home and show their family. They completed their qualification with an understanding why construction waste could, and should, be recycled and used to produce exceptional unusual products”.

Well done to all involved – building a bright future for our Foundation Apprentices.