The Borders Production Unit is a training provision working with young people, who are looking for opportunities to enhance their skills and experience through training and the chance to gain recognised qualifications in a wide variety of workshops.
It is designed to accelerate young people’s knowledge, confidence and personal performance in a real working environment.
The BPU provides full-time vocational training, support and advocacy to 16 to 19-year-olds across the Borders with a particular focus on catering, Information Technology and core skills.
The workshops are varied and focus on being individual, needs led. Working in small groups covering: catering, SVQ Pc Passport, SVQ employability, SVQ communications and numeracy.
I joined the Production Unit on August 16, 2010. This is what I think of it so far:
Having been a trainee for almost a year at the Borders Production Unit, it has been a confidence-building experience, in a safe, secure, relaxed and happy environment.
Making new friends and building up trust is good for my socialising skills as I live in an area with limited transport. Being here opens up new opportunities, everyday is different and the trainees get a chance to try things they would have never dreamt of doing before.
Whilst being here I have learnt things I would never have had the confidence to do before.
All trainees learn at their own pace, individually we learn new things every day. Some of these skills are as simple as housekeeping, such as ironing, sweeping, mopping, emptying the bins and washing the dishes. Other things I have learned include fish filleting, quiche making, cake baking (including Christmas cakes). I have enhanced my knife skills and learned different ways to present food when preparing for a function such as a buffet.
As part of the BPU I have worked in a cafe called ‘The Roundabout Cafe’ which is situated within the Langlee Community Centre. As part of that team I serve customers, handle money, make coffees and teas. Whilst working in there I have learned there are different types of coffees such as cappuccino, espresso, Americano and latte.
I have also had the opportunity to work on my people skills and build up my confidence and communication skills.
Outside of the catering side of things I have also been studying Level 4 Employability which consists of four units. By doing all these I have learnt about employment opportunities available around the Borders.
I found the sessions in the Employability units on how to behave properly in an interview and how to make a good first impression to a possible employer with both your application and your interview very informative.
Due to the knowledge I gained in this aspect and my money handling skills I got on a placement in the Langlee Complex helping the reception staff with answering the phones, handling databases, filing and counting money.
When I first started none of this could have been possible, but with the help I received I built up my confidence.
Also through the BPU, after our debate on politics and what it meant to myself and my fellow trainees, we have been participating in sessions about politics and the effects it has on young people and how much we the young people have a say in what happens.
It turns out that in one year more than 75 per cent of the elderly voted when only 35 per cent of young people said they voted.
The benefits that come from being apart of the production unit is that all trainees receive a weekly training allowance of £55. You also get paid holidays throughout the year which can be sometimes at the same time as the schools, and additional finance to help with travel costs to and from the unit.
I feel one of the best parts of being at the unit is that it’s different from being at school or college, it’s a stepping stone which just helps give you a push in the right direction.
To be considered for the BPU you have to be: 16-19 years old, living in the Scottish Borders, have left school, and are unemployed.
If you think the BPU is for you and you would like to find out more then call them on 01896 755 647 or 755 110 for a chat. Members of the team are looking forward to hearing from you sometime.