GREENOCK students have secured a place on a 'life changing course' with a guaranteed job at the end.

Twelve students from West College Scotland's Finnart Street campus are the first intake for the 'AC Whyte Skills Academy'.

The innovative course is a unique partnership between the college and AC Whyte, a construction company which delivers major refurbishment and external wall insulation projects throughout the UK.

Throughout 12 months of training, the students will learn skills which are specifically required to work for the firm before taking up paid positions with the business.

James Robertson, 38, from Reservoir Road in Gourock, who previously worked in IBM for 15 years, said: "I was at the college doing a painting course when this opportunity arose.

"It's been great so far, the training has been good and the company is good - everybody seems nice.

"To get a job at the end is a bonus.

"You are going to learn a trade so it's an amazing opportunity.

"We've already started the course so we've already done a bit of rendering and a bit of plastering and health and safety."

Classmate Adam Anderson, from Belville Street in Greenock, added: "It's a good opportunity especially as you're guaranteed a job.

"I think it will change my life."

Kenny Mearns, 18, from Greenock's Westmorland Road, says he feels lucky to get a place on the course.

He said: "It's a good trade to have under your belt.

"To be guaranteed a job at the end gives you more incentive to work hard."

Jennifer Phin, managing director of AC Whyte, worked with Tommy Campbell, head of construction at the college, to develop the specially-tailored course.

She said: "The students will learn everything that makes our business unique to us.

"They will be assessed along the way and as long as they pass their assessments they will be guaranteed employment.

"There is no other opportunity like that out there."

The training academy was officially opened on Monday by Derek Mackay, Scottish Government Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work at an event attended by Provost Martin Brennan and Stuart McMillan MSP.

He said: "It's particularly welcome that the college is working in partnership with the private sector.

"The government wants to see more of that."