Praise for council scheme

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I read with great interest your article of August 8 about the introduction of a new apprenticeship programme offered by Scottish Borders Council.

This will be a great help to the 30 candidates who, over the next few years, will be given the chance to get to grips with a great deal of essential work, including ground and street maintenance and cleaning. It also includes the opportunity to gain an SVQ award through Borders College, which is key to the future of these apprentices.

This idea was included in my manifesto when I campaigned as an independent candidate in the last council elections and I am very pleased to see it taken forward. However, my proposal was to include tutoring in how to be self-employed, which I think is important given the lack of local jobs and the uncertainty of gaining SBC employment.

I feel strongly that those who succeed in this apprenticeship should be given the opportunity to bid for SBC and private maintenance contracts. This should prove to be an effective utilisation of ratepayers’ money, given that it will be much cheaper in certain circumstances to contract out work rather than employ full-time personnel, and at the same time provide flexible employment opportunities for those fully trained for the future.

Nonetheless, this is a good start. I am pleased to see Councillor David Paterson is to champion the new scheme and would be happy to speak to him further on the matter.

Gordon Harrison

Syke End

Ettrick