Investing in youth skills and creativity


Scotland's first National Conservation Centre for training young people in traditional building skills is to be established in Stirling.

The Government's new Young Scots Fund will contribute towards a £3 million National Conservation Centre based at two locations in Stirling, in a partnership between Historic Scotland, Stirling Council and Forth Valley College.

In addition, £5 million is to be allocated from the Young Scots Fund for a new National Centre for Youth Arts in Glasgow that will provide accessible rehearsal and production facilities for companies including the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland, the National Youth Choirs and Y Dance, the youth dance agency.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said:

"Scotland is a creative nation, and we want our young people to be the best they can be. Developing and nurturing their skills and creativity is crucial for the country's economic future. To allow our young people to realise their potential, it is vital that we celebrate our emerging youth talent and provide opportunities for it to flourish.

"That is what our Young Scots Fund will do. Over the next four years, it will provide £50 million of support focused on developing the potential of our youngsters in sport, enterprise and creativity.

"The new National Centre for Youth Arts will be a fantastic resource for young creative talent, while our investment in the National Conservation Centre will help sustain and develop the traditional building skills needed to secure the future of Scotland's historic environment. It is also part of our strategy to halt the loss of such skills and expertise.

"Together, Scotland's creative industries and heritage sectors contribute £7.5 billion to the economy each year and support more than 100,000 jobs. Investing in the skills and creativity of Scotland's young people is clearly essential for sustainable economic growth."

The National Conservation Centre will be based in the Forthside area of Stirling from 2014, in a former railway engine shed, focusing on reviving scarce technical skills and promoting best practice in conservation. In addition, a brand new stone masonry training facility will be created at the new Kildean campus of Forth Valley College, opening in August 2012.

Forth Valley College Principal Linda McKay said:

"We are delighted to be launching this joint project with Historic Scotland. We have extensive experience of providing vocational training and skills associated with construction and with our new state-of-the-art campus opening in Stirling next year, we have much more to contribute to the new National Conservation Centre. Our new facility will provide a high quality learning environment and we're keen to maximise the opportunities the campus will offer. We have an excellent reputation for developing innovative training which responds to the national skills agenda and we look forward to developing our partnership with Historic Scotland and exploring future initiatives."

Councillor Scott Farmer, Stirling Council Executive Member for Finance & Economy said:

"Stirling Council is delighted to be working in partnership with Historic Scotland and Forth Valley College to deliver the National Conservation Centre. Improving and increasing training opportunities for our young people is a key aim of Stirling's Economic Strategy and the use of the former Engine Shed at Forthside for this project advances our plans for regeneration of this important city centre site."

For the National Centre for Youth Arts, Creative Scotland will take the lead in bringing together the relevant partners, including the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and the national youth companies, to develop detailed plans for a £5 million centre in Glasgow that will also provide an administrative base and facilities for other national youth arts and media activity.

The new Young Scots Fund (£50 million over four years) will invest over the next four years in emerging young talent - in creativity, sport and enterprise. It was announced by Fiona Hyslop on September 21, 2011, as part of the Culture and External Affairs portfolio budget plans.

Historic Scotland's Traditional Skills Strategy launched in March 2011 outlines the strategy for developing and sustaining traditional building skills in Scotland.

The National Conservation Centre training facility at Forth Valley College will allow Historic Scotland to develop world class training, based on its leading UK facility at Elgin, as well as offering support to other colleges. It will also help to promote traditional building skills as one of its key priorities, and encourage a wider public appreciation of the role of those skills in contributing to a vibrant and sustainable future for Scotland's construction industry. The total cost of the National Conservation Centre is expected to be in the region of £3 million; the Young Scots Fund will provide a contribution towards this.

Forth Valley College is undertaking an ambitious estates strategy with plans to develop and upgrade across all its campuses including two new campuses in Alloa and Stirling. The Stirling Campus is set to open in April 2012 and will offer state-of-the-art facilities in modern, dynamic learning environments and will increase the education and training opportunities available to thousands of learners in the Forth Valley area and beyond.