Finding new ways of getting youngsters ready for work

Borders College, Hawick campus.  Pictured from left to right: Alan Brown, June McGuiness - Borders College, Kimberley Armstrong, Trish Bell ' NHS Borders & SCB Joint Health Improvement, Jodie Hadley, Karissa Johnson, John McLaren - NHS Borders, Janice Laing- NHS Borders, Iris Bishop- NHS Borders, Laura Cook, Louise Robson- NHS Learning Disability Services, Lauren Mitchell, Ashleigh Dodds, Mike Niven - Job Centre Plus

Borders College, Hawick campus. Pictured from left to right: Alan Brown, June McGuiness - Borders College, Kimberley Armstrong, Trish Bell ' NHS Borders & SCB Joint Health Improvement, Jodie Hadley, Karissa Johnson, John McLaren - NHS Borders, Janice Laing- NHS Borders, Iris Bishop- NHS Borders, Laura Cook, Louise Robson- NHS Learning Disability Services, Lauren Mitchell, Ashleigh Dodds, Mike Niven - Job Centre Plus

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Tackling youth unemployment in the Borders by helping to prepare local youngsters for the world of work is high on the agenda for many.

NHS Borders recently introduced a ‘Train to Gain’ administration programme to get people ready for work; and TCI Renewables, who are hoping to build a nine turbine wind farm near Greenlaw, are planning a £40,000 ‘Rumbletonrig Skills Fund’ to tackle youth unemployment in the area.

Ten people recently completed an NHS Borders four week pre-employment administration programme at Borders College and two of them are already in work. The remaining eight who successfully completed the course are currently waiting to hear the outcome of interviews they had last week for NHS Admin Bank staff.

This pilot programme called ‘NHS Train to Gain’ provides an opportunity for unemployed young people to experience working in an administrative role in NHS Borders.

Jobcentre Plus has identified a large number of unemployed jobseekers who are looking for work in administration and IT, and they manage recruitment to the course delivered by Borders College.

The course offers youngsters: placements in a variety of NHS Borders locations; training, work experience and guaranteed interview; interviews for the NHS Admin Bank once the course has been successfully completed; and a basic level qualification from the British Computer Society.

June Smyth, NHS Borders director of workforce and planning is delighted to support the programme: “This course provides an excellent opportunity for a number of unemployed young people to develop their confidence and working skills. We look forward to future courses of this kind.”

Wind farm developers TCI Renewables are due to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Borders College, Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce and Federation of Small Business this week, recognising the commitment of the organisations to put in place and deliver funding on a range of programmes that will tackle unemployment. This will have a specific focus on young people and employers in areas local to the wind farm, should Rumbletonrig wind farm gain planning consent when it is submitted to Borders Council.