West Lothian Building Skills Partnership will boost local industry

A partnership has been forged between West Lothian Council, private industry and West Lothian College to boost local jobs and training programs within the local building industry.

It will also help the construction industry build resilience and develop business and economic contacts within the county, increasing supply chain opportunities and supporting sustainability and environmental goals.

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A local builder Archie Meikle, the Managing Director of Ashwood Scotland has agreed to initiate and chair the new West Lothian Building Forum.

The plan aims to improve collaboration in the construction sector, encourage young school leavers to join the industry and improve the training and skills of the local workforce.

Ashwood Scotland Limited was founded in 1999 by Mr Meikle, initially working from a 200 square foot office in Livingston. After securing two contracts within four weeks of its inception, the company has been negotiating non-stop ever since.

It is now fulfilling new construction, renovation, restoration and maintenance contracts worth £500-5million.

The Construction Forum will focus on four main areas: education, employability and training, construction and the local economy, and sustainability and the environment.

Mr Meikle said: “Having worked in construction for nearly 45 years and being deeply passionate about the industry and the local economy of West Lothian, I feel honored and privileged to have been asked to take on this role. .”

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The council’s executive adviser for development and transport, Cathy Muldoon, said: “The construction sector is hugely important to West Lothian’s economy and this forum will aim to bring the industry together with the aim of improving opportunities for growth and job creation.

“I think it’s really important that we ensure young people have a clear path into the construction industry and that’s one of the main aims of the forum. I’m delighted we have Archie at the helm and he will bring a tremendous amount of experience and expertise.

Jennifer C. Burleigh