HUNDREDS of frames for safety visors are currently being produced each day by staff at City of Glasgow College – as part of an inspiring new PPE campaign supported by a number of high profile Scottish organisations and stars such as actor Robert Carlyle.

The production of the visors is a collaborative effort with Glasgow arts and music venue, SWG3, and the Innovation School at Kelvinside Academy.

It was decided to utilise the college’s two lasers during the pandemic after an approach from one of the institution’s external industry stakeholders who was involved with the Kelvinside Innovation hub during the early stages of developing a network of companies and educational centres to produce visors.

As well as laser cutters, the college has 3D scanners, 3D printers, and high definition wax printers and is now looking at how the 3D printers could be used for other aspects of PPE development as part of the ViseUp initiative. 

“The process - from freshly cut sheet to being boxed - takes under 12 minutes and involves using the laser cutters used by the creative industries’ students at the college’s City campus,” explained Eddie Carr, Associate Dean for Design at City of Glasgow College.


Eddie Carr, Associate Dean for Design at City of Glasgow College


“Our students normally use them to accurately cut out components for models or design prototypes as part of their design projects. Jewellery and interior design course students also use them for elements of their project work.

“Learning gained from this experience will be used as part of future curriculum development in preparing our students to be more adaptable and agile in meeting the challenges expected of a diverse and ever changing industry.”  

Staff at the college spent about three weeks in April working on the first visor design which was made using acrylic for the frame and acetate for the visor. 

“We are now moving onto an improved design method, using polypropylene which will be more economical and less wasteful of materials,” said Eddie.

“Overall we have approximately 20 design staff working five days a week from 9.30am to 3.30pm to produce the frames. We set up a rota with just two people working at any one time to help maintain the social distancing measures. Initially we began by making 250 frames a day but we’ve now increased this to 400. 

“At the end of each week our frames are taken to the main hub at Kelvinside Innovation School where they have the acetate visor attached, are cleaned and boxed for dispatch.

"A range of organisations and education centres are involved in making the visors and it’s fantastic to see the boxes for all the different hospitals and other frontline services ready to be picked up. The demand is unbelievable with requests for visors coming in every minute.” 

The ViseUp initiative has set up a process where large multiple sheets of material are sourced and delivered to a city centre firm, Easy Cut, who cut them to the required sizes for the relevant ‘makers’. 

These are then delivered by local delivery company Badaboom. The same company pick up the completed visors and deliver them to the relevant front line staff.  

Carr said the initiative was a perfect example of the importance of working in collaboration across multi-disciplinary areas. 

Owner of  Glasgow venue SWG3, Andrew Fleming-Brown, organised a gofund campaign at to support the supplying of materials and production.   

It has raised almost £84k which is going directly into producing the laser-cut visors for NHS workers, carers and key workers across Scotland. Actor Robert Carlyle has also produced a video in support of ViseUp. 

The network of schools and businesses involved in ViseUp along with City of Glasgow College include the Innovation School at Kelvinside Academy, SWG3, Badaboom, Clydeside Distillery, Hydro-C, Intelligent Façade Engineering, Glasgow School of Art, NHS Scotland, Morrison Construction, Loft Office, Urban Office Architects, Peter Drummond Architects, Larbert High School and Caldervale High. 

NHS staff or Healthcare workers should email to request urgent PPE for next day delivery.



Construction workers build up new skills

AN online programme developed to address the skills gap in the construction industry has been a hit during lockdown, with many workers using the time to increase their knowledge. 

The programme was developed by City of Glasgow College together with BCTG, a Scottish building contractors’ training group, in an attempt to address the skills gap at supervisor level in the industry. 

This has been a concern for some time, with low investment in training resulting in increased costs and low levels of productivity.

The CITB funded programme was launched by City of Glasgow College before the pandemic took hold and has been seized on by construction staff who have been sent home after their work was halted. 

Linus Reichenbach, Project Manager for City of Glasgow College, said “More than 400 new learners have signed up to the platform since the middle of March.”


Linus Reichenbach, Project Manager for City of Glasgow College


Construction is one of the industries that has been badly hit by the lockdown and thousands of workers have been furloughed. 

Roughly 10% of the UK population works in the sector with more than 280,000 businesses contributing almost £90 billion gross-value-added (GVA) to the economy each year. 

The problems will not be over any time soon, when work resumes there is likely to be a greater emphasis on health and safety, including continuing social distancing. 
Ensuring a safe environment while maintaining an efficient, productive building site will be essential and lead to new challenges for supervisors.

However, many have turned to the college’s e-learning programme to brush up on their skills and prepare for a return to work.

The online platform has the benefit of being accessible anywhere, at any time from a phone, tablet or a computer.

The content was developed with input from the industry, educators and designers and offers 20 freely accessible modules to help supervisors and site managers learn at their own pace. 

“Some of our learners have finished every module which is not something we necessarily planned,” said Linus. 

“It was developed as a kind of pick and mix platform where individuals can focus on modules where they have identified gaps in their knowledge, but some people have enjoyed it so much they have completed the full platform.

“We are very happy that it is being used extensively and is clearly supporting the industry in the way we anticipated.”

He added: “Even before the pandemic hit we believed e-learning is the future, especially in the construction industry where supervisors are always changing sites and can’t easily attend classes.”

In addition to the online platform the college has created a PDF with all the information that the platform contains.

“It means you can have it on your tablet on-site so that if you need information quickly you can get it without having to go online,” said Reichenbach.

The modules cover traditional construction skills, digital skills and topics like health and safety.

The course content is also available in the college’s free Practical Handbook for Supervisors, available at

  • This article was brought to you in association with City of Glasgow College as part of our STEM campaign