Borders College: developing the workforce of the future

Jane McKenzie

Pictured above: Dr Jane McKenzie, Curriculum & Learning Manager, Business & the Visitor Economy

Borders College has a long tradition of serving the Scottish Borders business community with skilled graduates and industry-led education to upskill the workforce. Now, more than ever, we are acutely aware of our role in meeting the needs of local employers as we all endeavour to recover from the COVID pandemic and respond to Brexit. Working with our partners across the region, including DYW, SDS, schools and employers, as well as remaining aligned with National initiatives supporting growth, development and recovery, we are ideally placed to contribute significantly towards employment in the region.

I took on the role of Curriculum & Learning Manager, covering Business & the Visitor Economy, during lockdown. Technology has been pivotal in enabling me to hit the ground running, although it is a shame that I still have not been able to meet many of my colleagues in person yet. Nevertheless, joining at this critical time has exposed me to the important role of the College in developing the workforce.

Business skills are integral to all industry sectors, and our Business portfolio attracts a wide range of learners with varying aspirations. Educating individuals in fundamental aspects related to operating in any business environment is a key aspect of all of the courses, providing a strong foundation for more specialized learning. Embracing the modern business environment, we have recently adapted our HND programme to include Digital Marketing, which is likely to become critical to success in the future.

The Borders is also rich in entrepreneurial spirit, and we support this by embedding Enterprise into the Business. This year has been a little more challenging for the students in developing feasible enterprises to showcase their skills; however, we hope to be able to share some of these creative and inspiring projects on social media soon. There is nothing better than hearing first-hand accounts of successful businesses and, moving forward, we are keen to establish events for our learners to engage with local entrepreneurs.

The next few years will continue to be challenging; however, they also offer a myriad of new opportunities. Borders College is committed to supporting businesses by continuing to deliver highly skilled employees, bursting with enthusiasm and creativity. I would love to hear from businesses within the region about what you need from employees of the future, and welcome you to contact me,, for an informal chat.

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