Borders College

College showcases Apprenticeships in Ministerial visit

Borders College Principal Angela Cox welcomed Jamie Hepburn MSP, Minister for Employability and Training, to the Scottish Borders Campus this week.

Mr Hepburn enjoyed a tour of the Construction workshops, meeting Construction Lecturer Colin Waddell and Carpentry and Joinery apprentices.  The apprentices were keen to showcase their wide range of skills, and discuss the support available to them from both the College and their respective employers.

Jamie Hepburn MSP with Angela Cox and Borders College Apprentices

Pictured (left to right) are: Colin Waddell (Construction Lecturer), Ben Herdman, Jamie Hepburn MSP, Kieran Wilkinson, Jack Scott, and Angela Cox (Principal).

Borders College recognises the important role apprenticeships play in developing our future workforce and economic growth within the Borders Region.  Angela Cox said: 

“Borders College is currently delivering 278 apprenticeships, with this number set to grow.  Our success in this area is based on the relationships we have built with employers over a long period of time.

Principal Angela Cox with Jamie Hepburn MSPEmployer engagement is an important aspect for us when supporting workforce development.  With 97% of our local employers being SMEs, employers trust us to develop our apprentices to the highest quality and that in turn ensures that employers are able to sustain a more skilled and qualified workforce in the long term.”

 Employer Engagement Co-ordinator Joanne George has a key role in ensuring our training for all students reflects industry requirements through employer engagement.  She says:

“Employers view Borders College as the gold standard in delivering apprenticeships.  We offer various pathways into apprenticeships, exposing students to the College and industry environment at an early stage so that they know what to expect and can hit the ground running.”

Jamie Hepburn MSP with Apprentice Shane Millar and Bill Zawadeckyj

Mr Hepburn also had the opportunity to talk to local employer Bill Zawadeckyj, owner of WSZ Joiners of Galashiels, whose first year apprentice Shane Millar first attended Borders College through its Schools Academy programme before progressing onto his apprenticeship.  Mr Zawadeckyj was able to discuss his experience of recruiting apprentices and his positive relationship with the College.

(Mr Hepburn is pictured left with Shane and Bill.)

The Principal also took the opportunity to update the Minister on the progress the college was making in supporting levy-paying employers across the Borders Region through the Flexible Workforce Development Fund in providing training and development for their current workforce.

Mr Hepburn said:

“It was fantastic to meet apprentices and staff at Borders College and hear how these opportunities are helping young people gain a qualification while they work. 

Apprenticeships will help employers in the area meet their current and future workforce needs by responding to skills gaps, which can boost the local economy. 

It was also great to hear how the college is working to deliver the Flexible Workforce Development Fund, which offers opportunities to up-skill and re-skill existing employees.”

If you are a levy-paying employer who would like to find out more about the Flexible Workforce Development Fund and how it could help you to up-skill your current workforce and improve productivity, please contact Deirdre McKendry, Head of Business Development Unit, by e-mail dmckendry@borderscollege.ac.uk or by telephone 07968 135 407.

Published: Fri 27th Oct, 2017