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 you can put your new skills into practice.



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 informal 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 essential 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 and/or at the end of each unit.

How will I study my course?

  • Full Time

You normally need to commit to 18 hours per week (2-3 days) of blended learning time consisting of timetabled learning and personal study.

For the practical elements of your course, most of your timetabled learning will take place in our construction room in the Fort William or Portree centre.

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

    Please note, UHI West Highland will be changing its name to UHI North, West and Hebrides in August 2023. This will not impact on your choice of course or how and where you will study.

Start date

September 2023 in Fort William and 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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I had taken a construction crafts course while at school and I enjoyed it so much that I applied to do the full time construction course. I knew that I wanted to get into an apprenticeship, but I had no clue which trade. Being able to have a small taster of each trade on this course sounded extremely useful and helpful. I have really enjoyed college as it’s a perfect mixture of hands-on learning and theory work.  For me the best thing about the course is definitely the variety of different trades and assignments that we do each week and the course has been a very important steppingstone in my life between high school and finding/starting a full-time job. I hope to start an apprenticeship as an electrician and I believe my time at college will help me succeed.

Lewis Colven

I would recommend this course because it teaches many different skills and techniques which suits well. I like how we try various trades and it’s a great way to sample and get the chance to change your mind on what trade is preferred.  Many of the lecturers have their own local business and if you stand out as a student it’s a great way to get your name out.  There are also many useful tips that we have learned in the college that the instructors have picked up over their years of experience making it a great place to start.  

Liam McIver

Apply for Construction Skills NPA

I want to start in 2023/24

We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI West Highland. Please note, UHI West Highland will be changing its name to UHI North, West and Hebrides in August 2023. This will not impact on your choice of course or how and where you will study. UHI West Highland 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.