A Dumbarton teenager has been inspired to pursue a career in archaeology - after successfully taking part in an outdoors project designed to boost youth employment.

Seventeen-year-old Ian McGregor recently completed a 14-week programme based along the Forth and Clyde Canal.

The Scottish Waterways-run course, canal college, aims to help people aged 16 to 30 in West Dunbartonshire into work with the next block starting next month.

The canal is rich with built, natural and cultural history heritage and trainees undertake a wide range of practical projects to help conserve and enhance this.

As part of this, the course focuses on topics such as monitoring and creating habitats for wildlife, archiving and field survey work, vegetation management - and canalside archaeology.

Ian told the Reporter: "I was looking for something to help focus my mind on building a career when canal college was suggested to me.

"Archaeology was completely new to me, but I quickly found I was a big fan. As the weeks went by I took part in many other activities such as stone carving and building bat boxes.

"The course gave me a great opportunity to meet new people and develop my social and communication skills and how to work as part of a team effectively."

As well as developing traditional heritage and conservation skills, canal college offers trainees recognised SQA and other conservation certificates.

And following his successful completion of the programme, Ian is now applying for a college archaeology course starting next year.

Lesley Scullion, Scottish Waterways Trust youth outreach officer, said: "Canal college aims to make life better for young people who need support, whether it's helping them rebuild their confidence or gain new life or practical skills to help them progress into full time work or training.

"I’m delighted that we have inspired Ian to move on with his career."

Anyone interested in finding out more should contact Lesley on 07789941266.