The Skills Academy | Education | žžֱ


Welcome to The Skills Academy, žžֱ’s tertiary education and training centre for young people. The supportive learning environment provides a varied curriculum and practical lessons, partnered with rewarding work experience options to help young people develop skills and gain qualifications, which will increase their chances of finding and sustaining employment within a role they enjoy. The Skills Academy equips young learners with the tools and resources required to believe in themselves and achieve.

Our Locations

The academy has large modern premises based in Hillington Park and at St Mirren Football Club.

Our purpose-built centre in Hillington boasts bespoke workshop areas, a commercial kitchen, classrooms, and meeting space. There is a service and repair car garage, which manages žžֱ’s expansive vehicle fleet and gives budding mechanics the chance to increase their mechanical knowledge and gain trust in their practical skills. We have a bike maintenance station as well as a print studio that produces large format artwork and signage to the highest quality. The horticulture team take care of the allotments and community gardens to nurture and grow fruit and vegetables with the produce being used within our kitchens, and the gardening team upkeep all outdoor space.

Our partnership with St Mirren has created dedicated training areas within St Mirren’s SMISA Stadium in Paisley and the Ralston Training Complex, giving young people career building opportunities in an exhilarating, real-life setting to strengthen their employability skills.

Bespoke Tertiary Education Programme

For many young people, entering the world of work can be both an exciting and challenging time. The Skills Academy offers full-time, part-time and bespoke vocational programmes to meet the individual needs of each young person, with a focus on easing the transition from full-time education to the workplace.

Supportive Learning Environment

The Skills Academy provides a highly supportive learning environment where Key Trainers and Instructors provide training, ongoing support and encouragement to ensure the best outcomes for each young person. Key Trainers and Instructors provide weekly progress reports, course delivery and assessment, as well as promote key employment skills. We foster an ethos of inclusivity and teamwork, where we promote the successes of each young person from the small to the great.

 “The Skills Academy is good, I have learned a lot since I have been here and although I’m due to move on soon I feel that I can take the skills I have learned with me into a real job. The staff are good and help you when you need it.”

Young person


As a registered City and Guilds, and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) centre, we deliver a variety of subject choices as well as support with literacy and numeracy. Our practice continually evolves to match the needs and strengths of each young person with the subject list growing accordingly.

At The Skills Academy, young people gain qualifications in various subjects including Auto Engineering, Hospitality, Painting and Decorating.


Young people have the opportunity to gain work experience, receive full training and achieve recognised qualifications through work placements within žžֱ and St Mirren across the following departments:

  • Grounds Maintenance and Landscaping
  • Events, Conferences, and Hospitality
  • Catering
  • Facilities Management
  • Estates and Maintenance: Joinery, Construction, Painting and Decorating
  • Administrator Services
  • Marketing and Design
  • Customer Service for Retail and Ticket Sales

 “Young people from The Skills Academy used their joinery skills to complete renovations at St Mirren’s SMISA Stadium and the high-profile project helped them achieve their National Progression Award in Construction.

“Our partnership with St Mirren brings learning opportunities to young people in a real-life setting, motivating them to build a career they can be proud of.”

žžֱ Chief Executive, Jim Gillespie

Mandatory Training Courses

The Skills Academy prospectus includes mandatory training courses such as First Aid and Fire Safety to teach young people valuable lifelong skills, boost confidence levels, and increase self-esteem.

The Skills Academy provides training courses for First Aid, Fire Safety, Food Hygiene and more.

Personal Development

Young people who want to learn, work and achieve are fully supported at The Skills Academy. Our dedicated Employability and Tenancy Officer provides tailored guidance, advice and encouragement to young people who want to find and sustain employment. Assistance with CV writing, interview preparation and linking young people to jobs, work experience and further education all help young people to start work. Also, driving lessons are offered in addition to qualification coursework.

Find Out More

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