LESSONS have started early at the £220 million Dunfermline Learning Campus with pupils given an insight into how their new schools are being built.

St Columba's and Woodmill are due to open in August 2024 and the contractor, BAM, is aiming to deliver over £30m of "social value" across the project.

That involves building bricks and giving back to communities with the firm allowing 13 youngsters from the schools to get a foot on the ladder with an introduction to construction.

The pupils have been on site visits, received information on the careers available, taken part in a digital construction session, attended workshops at Fife College and been given demonstrations from sub-contractors.

A spokesperson explained: "As we’re replacing the existing Woodmill and St Columba’s high schools, it’s important to involve the school pupils in the construction of their new school campus."

BAM reckon they've already delivered £11.6m of social value by giving contracts to local suppliers, donating to public realm projects, hosting career fairs, staff volunteering for local good causes and hiring apprentices from the area.

They've also run a 'virtual work experience programme' in Fife, 14 young people from Dunfermline have taken part, which covers a variety of construction learning modules from design and engineering through to sustainability.

Another community benefit is the social enterprise company, Community Focus Scotland, who are running the onsite catering cabin with the aim of getting people back into employment and reducing poverty.

It also doubles as a catering training academy where nine local people have gained training qualifications and five have moved into employment.

Kiera Towson, 18, from Dalgety Bay, has been working there for three months.

She said: "The opportunity has helped me by giving me more training. I've just done food and hygiene and I'm going to do bar and catering as well.

"Next I'd like to go back to college and do travel and tourism and hopefully get a part-time job."

Just over half of the people involved in building the schools are local and work is noticeably progressing with buildings taking shape and windows installed.

Councillors and Fife Council officers visited recently, gathering on the social stairs for a photo op, and education spokesperson, Councillor Cara Hilton, said: “It’s so inspiring to be here today and see close up the quality and scale of this exciting project.

"The facilities that will be available to our young people are absolutely first-class."

On the other side of the campus, Fife College's contractor, Balfour Beatty, will offer more than 200 weeks of work for apprentices on the build phase.

They expect 80 per cent of contracts will be given to local businesses, with a "huge boost" to the economy and tens of millions of pounds being spent in the Fife area.

At peak construction, the project will employ up to 400 people.