Minister given insight into bid to develop workforce of future

Nick Bannerman, chair of DYW Borders and managing director for the Hawick division and Global Sales Director of Johnstons of Elgin, Alistair Cameron, MD of the Scotmas Group, Derek Cameron, founder of Scotmas Group, Andrea Hall, programme manager of DYW Borders
Jamie Hepburn, MSP and Minister of Employability and Training.
Nick Bannerman, chair of DYW Borders and managing director for the Hawick division and Global Sales Director of Johnstons of Elgin, Alistair Cameron, MD of the Scotmas Group, Derek Cameron, founder of Scotmas Group, Andrea Hall, programme manager of DYW Borders Jamie Hepburn, MSP and Minister of Employability and Training.

Kelso-based Scotmas, the world’s leading water treatment manufacturer, is helping to pioneer new approaches to apprenticeships in the chemical and life sciences sector.

The Scottish Government’s minister for employability and training, Jamie Hepburn, visited the Kelso business last week during a summer tour to see for himself how the Government’s Developing the Young Workforce programme is strengthening links between businesses and education.

Working in partnership with schools and Developing the Young Workforce Borders (DYW Borders), based at Ettrick Riverside in Selkirk, Scotmas is on board with the Scottish Government aim for a 40% reduction in youth unemployment by 2021.

Scotmas managing director, Alistair Cameron, said: “As a rapidly-growing business within the Borders, it has been absolutely essential for us to engage with schools across the region to identify and engage with new talent that will help drive forward all parts of our business.

“Although a small business, we are proud to already host three modern apprentices and are excited to have two new graduate apprenticeships starting within the next month.

“Graduate apprenticeships offer young people the exciting opportunity to earn while you learn, attending university for one or two days per week, whilst spending the remaining time engaged in meaningful work for their employer”.

DYW Borders chairman Nick Bannerman added: “The Developing Young Workforce initiative is gathering tremendous momentum across Scotland, with our work in the Borders being especially significant.

“With a focus on engaging our local businesses and partnering them with our region’s schools, we are creating a truly exciting opportunity to help our youngsters find the jobs they want while living here and, at the same time, helping to future-proof businesses across all sectors by increasing awareness of the amazing career opportunities they can offer our Borders youngsters.

“Scotmas is a great example of a rapidly-growing, prosperous family-run business operating in an exciting, innovative market that science students across the region will now be aware of.”

Following his visit to Scotmas, Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP Mr Hepburn said: “It was fantastic to visit the Developing the Young Workforce Borders group and see how it is working to close the gap in youth unemployment in the area.

“The group is providing young people with vocational learning options and making sure employers like Scotmas are working with schools to encourage enterprise and business skills from an early point.

“We are investing funding in skills, training and workforce development measures which have been developed and designed to suit the needs of employers, and it’s great to see Scotmas recognising the benefits of this approach by taking on graduate level apprentices and provide people with opportunities to take on degree-level courses while they are working.”