Teenagers given chance to try out range of rural jobs

Billie Dishington in the garden at Coldstream Community Centre
Billie Dishington in the garden at Coldstream Community Centre

Connect, Berwickshire Youth Project, is once again living up to its name - this time connecting with others to offer local teenagers the chance to find out about rural jobs.

Since Duns and Coldstream youth projects merged in 2011 they have been involved in projects across Berwickshire, from boat building with a team of local volunteers at Eyemouth, to teaching sheltered housing residents in Eyemouth, Duns and Coldstream how to use iPads.

Now they are joining forces with Journey to Self, a social enterprise not-for-profit training provider based in Wooler, to run ‘Farming 4 All’, introducing young people considering farming as a career option to all aspects of farming and related industries.

Aimed predominantly at 14 to 16-year-olds, the scheme will be run on a youth club basis with up to 15 people attending evening, weekend and school holiday sessions.

“The young people will undertake a structured programme based on the different aspects of not only farming, but related industries such as forestry, fisheries, and farm diversification,” explained Julie Middlemiss Brown, from Connect.

“ There will be the chance to get involved in a hands-on capacity to experience everything from dry stone walling and tree felling, to butchery and bee keeping.

“The basis of the scheme is to introduce the young people to all aspects of life skills, farming and other outdoor related industries and give them an idea of the career options in the area.

“A particular problem in the Borders is the migration of the young people away from the area to look for work. Young people looking for work need to be encouraged to remain in the locality, to keep the area economically viable.

“It is hoped the young people will gain an understanding of the opportunities available through farming and the related industries to gain training and employment in this area.”

The programme is funded by Scotland’s Big Lottery Young Start Programme which is also funding Connect’s Healthy Connections project, the two programmes running side by side.

“We are hoping to establish a smallholding to grow vegetables and keep chickens, and everything produced in the mini farm will be offered for sale” added Julie.

“We are looking for volunteers from various areas to assist in the mini farm from gardening enthusiasts to retired business people.”

Contact Julie on 01890 883332/07742203421 jmbconnect@btinternet.com