Gala event boosts business case for apprenticeships

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Borders businesses have been challenged to take on apprentices following the inaugural Borders Apprenticeship Showcase in Galashiels last Friday.

Along with Borders College, local MP Michael Moore brought together apprentices and more than 40 representatives from businesses, trade associations and schools to discuss how local businesses can be helped to take on apprentices and tackle youth unemployment in the Borders.

Local apprentices Mark Moffat of Dalgleish and Thara Cunningham of Brown and Muir talked about their personal experiences, highlighting the particular benefits which their apprenticeships have given them – providing important technical skills and more general ‘skills for life’.

Graham Wilson of Mainetti explained the very successful electrical engineering apprenticeship programme which the Jedburgh-based company has been running for 18 years, and the positive impact apprentices have had on business stability and growth. Brian Hermiston of Skills Development Scotland and Mike Niven of Job Centre Plus spoke and took questions from local businesses about the various schemes which exist to help employers to take on apprentices.

Speaking shortly after the event, Michael Moore MP said: “Apprenticeships offer a great opportunity for businesses and young people.

“Apprenticeships help businesses reduce recruitment costs, lower staff turnover and improve productivity.”