Pupils from around the region are benefitting from a unique academy right here in the Scottish Borders.
The South East Scotland Academies Partnership (SESAP) is a pioneering project that brings together senior pupils at colleges and universities in Scotland.
One of the courses, the Hospitality Academy, sees pupils attending Borders College in Galashiels once a week, for four hours, and an additional four sessions at Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh.
At college the students study hospitality management higher national units, including Food Production Processes and Food and Beverage Service, and work in the catering production kitchen and restaurant, at Scottish Borders Campus, preparing and serving meals to members of the paying public.
The Hospitality and Tourism Academy began in 2012 in order to provide academic qualifications and experience to enable young people to benefit from a positive destination. The academies also aim to smooth the transition between school, college, university and employment, raise standards within the industry and support the development of Scotland’s key growth industries.
Natasha Stevenson of Eyemouth High School said: “I have found this experience enlightening and beneficial. It is good to get a break from normal school and experience a different way of teaching and learning.”
Meanwhile Angel Gourlay of Jedburgh Grammar said:“I really enjoy the Borders Hospitality course. It’s a great experience and opportunity to meet new people. This course has given me a great idea of what working in a kitchen for the public is like.”
And Jack Young, a pupil atEyemouth High School added: “The Hospitality and Tourism Academy has really opened up my opinion on this industry.
“It is a very demanding industry however one which I do not want to go forward with. I have gained confidence through this course and I am glad I was chosen to go forward with this course.
“I liked having the opportunity to meet young people on this course.”
Programme leader, Vicky MacDonald commented: “The students have had a lot to learn and had to get up to a high standard in a fairly short time. They certainly have been great ambassadors for their schools and we wish them well in their chosen careers.”
The South-East Scotland Academies Partnership is spearheaded by Queen Margaret University in collaboration with Scottish Borders Council, Borders College and industry partners.