Fife Council Civils Academy

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Fife Council Civils Academy


Raeburn Training recently welcomed 16 students from local high schools onto the Fife Council Civils Academy. This week-long programme was designed to give school leavers an insight into life in the civils industry and help to address recruitment concerns in the industry.


Recruitment in the Civils Industry

Many industry sectors are suffering from skills shortages, more so now because of Brexit. The estimates from the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) training and development conference last year really caught our attention. They estimate by 2026, 25,250 new workers are required in the industry, due to various factors including current age demographics and planned public spending in the sector.

In response to these statistics, CECA are launching the CECA Academy, working alongside colleges to provide tailored training to candidates who are looking to enter the industry. The initiative goes live across the UK this summer with some of Scotland’s colleges taking part, including Fife College which is hugely exciting for our local area.

After attending the CECA conference Sarah Raeburn, Director of Raeburn Training, decided to create a programme targeted at high school leavers. Having had personal experience of recruiting into the civils industry, Sarah felt a frustration around this skilled role, civils operatives, being forgotten alongside the more traditional trades such as joiners, electricians, and plumbers. Working in partnership with the local employability team at Fife Council, they agreed this programme would encourage candidates to consider a career in civils.


The Civils Academy Programme

Using the skills and relationships she has built over the years, and her team at Raeburn Training, Sarah developed a civils academy programme with the following key aims –

  • Provide an insight into the civil sector, the various sectors within, opportunities and entry routes.
  • Allow candidates to experience some practical skills used in the industry, such as building a bridge, laying foundations, digging drainage, and hard landscaping.
  • Equip candidates with vocational training to allow them to move directly into work placements or jobs.
  • Facilitate site visits of live construction sites, to allow candidates to see how their training is applied in a real-world environment.

This new academy format was piloted back in October 2022, with candidates gaining qualifications which included REHIS Elementary Health & Safety and the much sought after CSCS card.

Raeburn Training were delighted to have the support from the Fife Council Pre-Employment Programme Team and the DYW who working closely with the schools, and last week welcomed our second group of candidates onto the academy programme. Candidates successfully completed the week-long academy, gaining their vocational qualifications, and we look forward to welcoming them all back for their CSCS tests.


Construction Site Visit

During the academy, the candidates had a unique opportunity to visit the new Fife College – Dunfermline Learning Campus, which is currently being built. The candidates, and staff, received a warm welcome from the team at Balfour Beatty, who provided them with an overview of the project as well as a tour of the site, which allowed them to ask questions, and see the scale and variety of work being done.

This visit was invaluable to the candidates, who even had the opportunity to be on the building itself, getting a birds-eye view of the project! It certainly was a unique experience for them all, so a huge thank you to all the team at Balfour Beatty for inspiring the candidates, and special thanks to Duncan Gardner for organising.


Speaking about the academy week, Sarah Raeburn said, “the group of candidates who embarked on this scheme impressed me with their quiet determination, and it was great to see their confidence grow throughout the week. There were some very capable candidates, and with the help of the Fife Council Pre-Employment Programme Team, I have every confidence they will succeed in finding their first role in the industry. Thank you to the Fife Council Pre-Employment Programme Team for your support pre, during, and moving forward supporting these youngsters into construction roles.”.

Employability Project Officer, Marion Molloy, added that “feedback from our participants was that it was a great programme for young people, giving a good introduction and insight to the civils industry. Participants also felt that gaining recognised qualifications was useful for them in decision making for their future in the industry, that the academy provided good life skills, and they particularly liked the practical aspects of the week, along with the site visit.”.

If any local employers within Fife or CECA members can offer work placements to candidates, or have vacancies at entry or apprenticeship level, please contact [email protected] and Brian, Marion or Mei would be delighted to chat.



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