Taylor and Fraser pride themselves on their portfolio of refurbishment projects, which have resulted in reviving many buildings for modern-day use. Restoration and refurbishment projects are always satisfying; however, none more so than a current project in Perth. Standing on Atholl Street, the 130-year-old St Andrew’s and St Stephen’s building is being transformed into an advanced youth centre for young people across Tayside. At the same time, the construction project is providing an introduction to the construction industry for many young people.
The YMCA Tayside purchased the C-listed church in December 2000 with huge ambitions to transform it into an innovative space offering many engaging facilities for young people. The building will provide young people access and opportunities to learn where they can improve their confidence and skills, meet other young people and receive support from dedicated youth workers.
YMCA Tayside provides youth work services and support programmes to youngsters aged 8-25, mainly from disadvantaged backgrounds. This can include those who require early intervention or are underachieving or have addiction issues, offenders, and those who have become homeless.
The construction process at the St Andrew’s and St Stephen’s building offers a first-class opportunity to support youngsters interested in employment in the construction industry. To take full advantage of the opportunity to introduce young people to the various skills in the construction industry, Taylor and Fraser facilitated ‘The Construction Academy’, a 20-week programme delivered by YMCA Tayside highlighting the multiple trades within the sector.
Taylor and Fraser’s Construction Director Angus MacInnes explained: “YMCA Tayside, working in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council and Taylor and Fraser, are giving young people the opportunity to work with a range of trades including bricklaying, joinery, plumbing and electrical. This initiative will help them gain vital experience in the construction industry and help them choose what area they want to specialise in. They will also be able to gain their CSCS card and First Aid, Health and Safety and Manual handling.”
For two hours each week, there is a workshop involving all trades; this, and the hands-on experience, adequately demonstrate the range of opportunities within the construction industry and pairs young people with trades that interest them most and are best suited to their abilities.
Commenting on the initiative, YMCA Tayside CEO Jill McGrath said: “We have been delighted to work in partnership with Perth and Kinross Council and the construction company Taylor and Fraser, who are transforming our old Church building into a state-of-the-art youth hub. We have witnessed growing confidence in the group of young people who took part. It’s so important that young people have the opportunity to gain experience in this industry. Dave Findlay, the site manager, was superb and able to build positive relationships with the group, who all participated well in the sessions. One young man requested to have the work experience extended, so I see him regularly on my visits to the site.”
Taylor and Fraser are delighted with the construction project’s progress, and we are equally happy at the prospect of laying the foundations and potentially building rewarding career paths for many who may otherwise not have had the opportunity.