Skills Traditional

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The aim of this project is to provided a remedy to the lack of traditional skilled talent in the Scottish Borders. As well as providing services to increase unemployment and improve the energy efficiency of the buildings. A Training Center for Traditional Building Skills with strong links to the Borders College, will provide such a remedy. Successful scheme as one run by the Prince’s Trust provide a model on which to build on to provide a safe learning environment for crafts to be practiced. The location suggested is the brown field site of the old gas works which will provide 600m2 of possible training space. This will provide a stimulus to the local economy and help to improve the energy efficiency and longevity of local homes.

The Lack of Talent.

In Scotland there is over 450,000 traditionally constructed building which have a great economic value to Scotland (heritage Scotland). Buildings such as Edinburgh castle, Holyrood Place, bring in thousands of tourist a year. Keeping these buildings standing requires 20,000 full time employees and £1 billion investments a year (Historic Scotland, 2011). Which accounts for 35% of construction sector in Scotland which is devoted to the repair and maintenance (Historic Scotland, 2011). However, with such a demand for skills there is a drop in people taking up trades especially is traditional skills field. There could be a real risk of traditional skills not being passed on to the next generation, with 84% of young people finding construction work unattractive (Historic Scotland, 2011). For the built environment in general there is a need for an annual recruitment of 1,430 in Scotland between 2015-2019. Furthermore, skills are required for providing skills to prepare these buildings for the future. The Green building council suggests that one million deep retrofits are required a year until 2025 to help the UK meet their carbon emissions targets (Green Building Council , 2015).

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The Training Centre

Like many places Galashiels require an increasing number of homes, however there are number of houses that have been left derelict. This could be due to the lack of trained personnel in the area with 35% of people finding it takes up to 2 months to gain traditionally trained personnel (Historic Scotland, 2011). The Princes Trust currently provides Building Craft Apprenticeship and Young Heritage Apprenticeship with funding to cover living and transportation. The young heritage apprenticeships provide a route from school for 16-18 year olds to gain practical skills in traditional building crafts to NVQ level 2 (Princes Trust , 2016). The Building Craft Apprenticeship builds on this experience to level NVQ level 3 setting them on the way to become a master craftsperson. One of the great lessons from this course is the Live Build which involves designing and building a traditional crafted building on the grounds of Dumfries House estate (Princes Trust , 2016).

Youtube video of Prince’s Foundation Skills School (The Prince’s Foundation, 2013)

However, there is not a centralised training center at the moment which provides teaching all year round. The aim of this project is to provide a training centre for the such apprenticeships, which will train and educate young people in traditional and sustainable technologies. The training centre will provide a safe space which skills can be learnt and refined before they are applied to the outer world.

A Diagram showing the connections of the proposed Skills Traditional Training Center

The aim will be for the training to be applied to buildings in the surrounding area having a positive affect on the community. Thus improving and maintain the building stock of Galashiels. For example, the additions of sustainable retrofit skills to the local community can help to lift 9 out of 10 people out of fuel poverty by reducing fuel bills to under £300, protecting the most vulnerable in the community (Green Building Council , 2015).

The Gas Works

college map web
A map showing the location of the proposed site.

The proposed location for the training centre is the disused gas works near the Gala Water. There are number of reasons for choosing this location, first of which is its proximity to Borders College. Borders college provides apprenticeships in bricklaying, carpentry, electrical, plumbing, painting and decorating (Borders College , 2016). A positive consequence of this is it will provide a pathway between its’ teachings and students currently studying at Border college.

map showing railway web
Map showing the connection between the Railway and the new proposed site.

The site is also located 10 minutes walking distance from Tweedbank station improving the accessibility for people traveling in. This will also provide a short cut between the Borders College and Tweedbank station, hence improving the accessibility of the College. This will also have the affect of strengthening the connection with the college. The implementations of such pathways was greatly supported in our previous workshop with member of the Galashiels community. They were also supportive of our idea to improve the and expand around the area of the Boarders College. Due to the technical skills which the course will be providing the crafts persons and students maybe coming in from further afield meaning accommodation, thus can be provided by the Jean Muir student village. The Gas works being a previous industrial site means that it doesn’t have any environment value when compare to green field sites in the area. Also it is not protected for for business or any other use by the council (Scotish Boarders Council , 2016). The building on this site will help to remove possible contaminates from the soils therefore helping to improve the sites environmental value.


Street view of the gas works (Google Maps , 2008)


Borders College , 2016. eBook Course Guide. [Online]
Available at:
Google Maps , 2008. Galafoot Ln. [Online]
Available at:,-2.7774491,3a,75y,232.18h,86.14t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sLqVfTCJKMXsLZNhbkJnwcQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!6m1!1e1
[Accessed 18 02 2016].

Green Building Council , 2015. A housing stock fit for the future: Making home energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 15 02 2016].

Historic Scotland, 2011. Traditional Building Skills A strategy for sustaining and developing traditional building skills in Scotland.. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 08 02 2015].

Princes Trust , 2016. BUILDING CRAFT APPRENTICESHIP. [Online]
Available at:

Princes Trust , 2016. YOUNG HERITAGE APPRENTICESHIP. [Online]
Available at:

Scotish Boarders Council , 2016. Local Development Plan. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 08 02 2016].

The Prince’s Foundation, 2013. Second week of Summer School 2013. [Online]
Available at:
[Accessed 18 02 2016].


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