The project was set up by the Trust, which is Scotland’s only national waterways charity. It found solutions to local skills shortages and high youth unemployment in Falkirk and Edinburgh through a programme of training and skills development focused on the Forth & Clyde and Union Canals.
Twelve 14 week-long work programmes taught heritage and environmental skills to disadvantaged 16-25 years olds. The college was offered free of charge to all participants.
Of the 162 young people who took part in the project, 72% moved into similar work, further education or training once they completed their course.
There were also added benefits for wildlife and plants, with the young people making surveys, creating a wildflower meadow and holding open days to engage the local community with the built and natural heritage.
There are now plans to double the number of unemployed people benefiting from the Canal College and this has taken a step closer with a £21,700 HLF development grant to establish a second phase of the training programme.