As local MP, I am determined to do as much as possible to boost job opportunities for young people here in the Borders.
I believe that apprenticeships offer a great opportunity for businesses and young people. They are not just for the traditional trades but can be in anything from marketing to business administration and customer service.
Apprenticeships help businesses reduce recruitment costs, lower staff turnover and improve productivity.
Over the last few months, I have been campaigning to encourage local businesses to take on apprentices.
I have recently visited Mainetti, Dalgleish and WSZ Joiners to see how these local businesses have managed to create very successful apprenticeship schemes.
As part of this ongoing campaign, last Friday I co-hosted the Borders ‘Apprenticeship Showcase’ with Borders College.
The event brought together representatives from local businesses, trade associations and schools to discuss how we can help to tackle youth unemployment in the Borders.
I was grateful to Borders College Principal Liz Mcintyre for opening the event and introducing the attendees to the theme of the day – to “enhance lives”.
Borders College has been working in close partnership with local businesses and funding organisations to provide apprenticeships that have benefitted our communities in the Borders for many years. Therefore, it was very fitting to hold an event like this at the college.
Over the course of the day, we listened to presentations about the various schemes to incentivise employers to take on apprentices from Brian Hermiston of Skills Development Scotland and Mike Niven of Job Centre Plus. We also heard from Graham Wilson of Mainetti, who discussed the very successful electrical engineering apprenticeship programme that they have been running for many years.
Mark Moffatt of Dalgleish and Thara Cunningham of Brown & Muir, also gave us their unique insight into their own apprenticeships.
After the various presentations, we also had the chance to tour the college and see how they successfully train young people in a practical learning environment.
It was great to see so many local businesses, stakeholders and educators turn out for the event.
I hope that we can hold events like this more regularly, so that we can continue to discuss how best to encourage more local businesses to take on apprentices and ultimately, “enhance lives”.