A legacy of jobs will be secured for hundreds of school-leaving pupils living along the A9 corridor by the £3billion duelling project, the Scottish transport minister pledged yesterday.
A major new conference in Aviemore brought together pupils, teachers and industry leaders to share the success of the Academy9 project, which aims to provide a new generation of innovative engineers and construction workers.
Michael Matheson, cabinet secretary for transport, infrastructure and connectivity, said after touring the conference centre at Macdonald Aviemore Resort: “I have been left extremely impressed by the attitude of the pupils.
“The A9 project is definitely in good hands in years to come.”
He claimed the development would help provide a “world-class workforce for the future”.
The massive Aberdeen bypass development, which has just been completed, covered 36 miles and cost more than £1bn and created around 70 graduate and apprenticeships.
The A9 dualling between Perth and Inverness covers 80 miles and will cost around £3bn, and it is hoped many more pupils will consider a career in construction and industry as a result.
Mr Matheson told The Press and Journal: “The A9 is the biggest infrastructure project ever undertaken in Scotland, double the size of the Queensferry Bridge.
“Meeting the pupils involved in the Academy9 has shown me the enthusiasm by many to consider careers in projects like the A9 dualling.”
Since launching in 2015, the Academy9 initiative has involved 3,800 pupils and 120 teachers in schools along the A9 corridor, providing more than half a million hours of learning.
Mr Matheson added: “While the benefits to road users are to be welcomed, we want to do lots more for the communities living along the A9 corridor and Academy9 provides the opportunity to invest in the country’s next generation of engineers, designers and construction workers.
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“Through the different elements of our Academy9 initiative we have delivered learning to since its launch in 2015.
“This conference is bringing together professionals from infrastructure and engineering as well as professionals across the education spectrum to showcase the award-winning Academy9 programme, raise awareness of STEM and at the same time promote knowledge exchange and opportunities for learning.
“So the A9 Dualling programme is about much more than building a road and through Academy9 we are contributing to the development of a world-class workforce for the future.”