Construction Skills NPA

What is special about this course?

The construction industry is booming in the West Highlands. Do you want to be part of that success story in the future?

Our course offers you practical experience in the different sectors of the industry, each delivered by practising tradespeople. So try your hand at bricklaying, roofing, electrics, joinery etc. By working on these different specialities over the year, you will be in a position to make an informed choice about which one you prefer and wish to continue through either employment, possible apprenticeship or further college training.

You do not need any experience to join us but we know you will gain plenty through practical sessions, sharing years of work experience with our lecturers, learning from others in the class and making the most of our purpose built and well-equipped construction rooms.

You will have the chance to take industry certificates: Health and Safety (IOSH), CSCS Card and Access Platforms (safe use). You will also be supported in a two week work placement where youcan put your new skills in to practise.


Entry requirements

You should be reasonably fit and able to work to a National 4/5 level of study. Mature students are welcome. All candidates will attend an interview.

  • Plumbing
  • Brickwork
  • Blockwork
  • Carpentry and joinery
  • Painting and decorating
  • Roof slating and tiling
  • Electrical
  • Stonemasonry – Introduction
  • Plastering and plaster boarding
  • Construction practices
  • Two week work placement in industry
  • Embedded development of core and essentail skills

You will also have the chance to take the following industry certificates:

  • Health and Safety – IOSH
  • CSCS card
  • Access Platforms – Safe use

The majority of SQA units in this course are at SCQF level 4/5. The course is continuously assessed and assessments take place throughout each unit.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

Each week will comprise of scheduled, connected training time and flexible learning time. You need to commit to both, but you can choose when to complete flexible learning to fit around work, caring and personal commitments.  

Connected training time is when you learn together with lecturers, instructors, students and others during this practical skills training course.  Training and learning generally happens at a scheduled time in a workshop although this may also happen in an online-classroom, a specialist classroom or on site visits.

Flexible learning is directed by your lecturer/instructor, and complements the practical skills based training program.  Flexible learning is a regular learning activity, for example:
•    watching a video or reading,
•    completing an assignment or project-based task,
•    completing a quiz,
•    practising a task, activity or idea
•    posting your idea in a discussion forum,
•    discussing and working on a solution with another student,
•    researching and gathering information.

Self-directed learning is your decision about further study and focus.  We encourage you to take ownership of your learning and areas of interest. You can ask us to help you to determine areas for further development.

As and when it is appropriate and safe to do so, your connected learning activity will generally take place in a workshop.  However, during periods of social distancing restrictions, some of your learning may need to be in an online-classroom.  This will include a combination of video conferencing, interactive chat and sharing of presentation slides and other visuals. Online-classrooms provide you with real time interaction, contact and discussion with your lecturer and fellow students.

How long will my course last?

34 Weeks

How will I be assessed?

    The course is continuously assessed and assessments take place throughout each unit.

Where can I study my course?

    • Fort William
    • Portree

Start date

September 2021 in Fort William & Portree


Most students have their course fees paid as this is a full time course. Please read our Fees & Funding information pages for more information regarding residency, previous study and bursary rates. Please contact if you have any further questions.

Rest of UK students : For students normally domiciled in the rest of the UK (England, Wales and N. Ireland, including Channel Islands and the Isle of Man), with a term-time address in Scotland, studying full time, the course fee is £5,800.

Some of our courses require students to have essential equipment/clothing.

If you are under 18, you are entitled to have essential equipment paid for whether you are entitled to Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA) or not. However you must complete an application even if you know that you're not entitled to EMA.

If you are 18 and over and are eligible for a bursary, these costs will be met through your bursary. If you are not eligible for a bursary, you will need to fund these items yourself.


Students may also qualify for bursary funding.

What can I do on completion of my course?

Career progression includes apprenticeships in the construction industry, labouring positions, self-employment and progression onto higher education studies within the construction industry.

Is there more information available online?

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What our students, graduates and staff say

I would recommend this course. It’s hands on and that really suited me. I like the variety and how we try out lots of different trades over the year. We are treated almost liked apprentices.

All our lecturers are in trade themselves and they work locally. They have so much to share with us from their years of practical experience. We learn the skill but if you keep your ears open, you can pick up a lot of useful information about self-employment and the realities of starting a business.

Andrew Pate

Apply for Construction Skills NPA

I want to start in 2021/22

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at West Highland College UHI. West Highland College operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.