Over the past few months, I have been campaigning to encourage local businesses to take on apprentices.
I have visited many businesses across the constituency to see how they have managed to create very successful apprenticeship schemes.
As part of this ongoing campaign to increase apprenticeships in the Borders, last week I visited Hawick Cashmere to meet the apprentices there.
The company has invested heavily in the very latest technologies, but like other local firms in the Borders, they place most value on the skills, craftsmanship and knowledge accumulated from over a century of manufacturing. Their apprenticeship programme is absolutely vital for ensuring the next generation of skilled women and men in the workforce.
It was a privilege to meet the apprentices – Ashley, Heather, Hayley and Michael, on the factory floor. The skills and expertise they have developed over the course of their apprenticeship programme are very impressive.
A successful manufacturing sector is vital to the prosperity of our region and therefore, it was heartening to see this flourishing business training the next generation of skilled employees.
Along with most other manufacturers in the area, Hawick Cashmere is very clearly investing in the future.
I am delighted that Eyemouth Harbour’s offshore renewable marketing project has been shortlisted as a nominee in the ‘Community Initiative’ category in this year’s Scottish Green Energy Awards.
There were a record number of nominations for this year’s awards so this announcement is a great boost for the harbour’s development. The plan for development of offshore renewable energy at Eyemouth is very impressive and therefore, I am glad that the project has been recognised in this way.
I regularly chair the Eyemouth Renewables group to discuss the ways in which the local Eyemouth community can benefit from the enormous economic potential of the harbour’s development.
I wish Christine Bell and the rest of the team at the Eyemouth Harbour Trust lots of luck for the upcoming awards in Edinburgh and hope they do well on the night.
Rocket launch challenge
Over 25 MPs gathered in Westminster last week to team up with aerospace apprentices from all over the UK and take part in a rocket launching competition.
The competition celebrated the launch of the 2014 UK Aerospace Youth Rocketry Challenge which sees teams of students aged 11-18 years old design, build and launch their own rockets to exacting specifications.
The event, which took place in a park next to the House of Lords, coincided with ‘Tomorrow’s Engineers’, a government initiative to showcase the engineering careers options available to young people.
The Rocketry Challenge was a brilliant way to show more students what fun engineering really is and also to highlight the exciting opportunities that a career in engineering can offer.
Just don’t ask how far I managed to fire the model rocket on the day...