YOUNG students are reaping the rewards of a plumbing and heating academy set up in West College Scotland.

Greenock Telegraph: West College Scotland

James Paterson & Sons have invested in the Greenock campus to help deliver a new workforce after setting up a pilot scheme last year.

From the first intake the firm who work with the biggest housebuilders in the country have recruited two new apprentices and another two have secured a job with other companies.

It is a fantastic first year for the partnership with recruitment now underway for next year.

Both Michael Holmes, 16, and Damain McDonald, 17, both from Greenock hard work on the college course has paid off as they secure roles with James Paterson.

Michael, who lives in Larkfield, said: "I am over the moon to get this chance. It is hard work but we are learning all the time.

"I think the course really helped up get ready for this and I don't think we would have had the apprenticeship without it. We had lots of the skills and the attitude we needed to get us started.

"We are up early and away every morning, We most work on house building sites.

"It is great getting paid and also having a trade."

Damain added:"It is great to have the chance of an appenticeship.

Likewise Calum Power, aged 17, from Greenock, is delighted to have completed the course and now has an apprenticeship with Quality Renewals.

He said: "I think it is really good to be working with a firm based around renewables, which is the future. I am delighted."

Joining them with an apprenticeship is fellow student Dean Burns, 17, from Dunoon, who is now working with John Brown in his home town.

Curriculum enhancement lecturer Lee Clark, who runs the academy along with his colleague Creag McCutcheon, who was also a student at the college, says they are delighted with the commitment of their partners.

Lee said: "James Paterson & Son are so committed to this and have delivered by taking on students from the course.

"We are now looking for new recruits for next year. It is great to be able to give our the prospects of an apprenticeship.

"There are now four boys who are going to have great opportunities in a trade. These will be well paid jobs and they have skills. It is great for the college and it is great for Inverclyde."