Minister visits Borders College to meet apprentices hoping to be hired

At Borders College are, from left, construction lecturer Colin Waddell; apprentice Ben Herdman, of Kelso; MSP Jamie Hepburn; Kieran Wilkinson, of Selkirk; and Jack Scott, of Hawick.
At Borders College are, from left, construction lecturer Colin Waddell; apprentice Ben Herdman, of Kelso; MSP Jamie Hepburn; Kieran Wilkinson, of Selkirk; and Jack Scott, of Hawick.

Scottish Government employability and training minister Jamie Hepburn paid a visit to Borders College in Galashiels last week to find out more about how its apprenticeship programmes are helping young people build up their career prospects.

The Cumbernauld and Kilsyth MSP was given a tour of the college’s construction workshops, meeting lecturer Colin Waddell and carpentry and joinery apprentices, as well as Bill Zawadeckyj, owner of Galashiels firm WSZ Joiners.

From left, Borders College apprentice Shane Millar, of Selkirk, with MSP Jamie Hepburn and Galashiels joiner Bill Zawadeckyj.

From left, Borders College apprentice Shane Millar, of Selkirk, with MSP Jamie Hepburn and Galashiels joiner Bill Zawadeckyj.

Mr Hepburn said: “It was fantastic to meet apprentices and staff at Borders College and hear how these opportunities are helping young people gain a qualification while they work.

“Apprenticeships will help employers in the area meet their current and future workforce needs by responding to skills gaps, which can boost the local economy.  

“It was also great to hear how the college is working to deliver the flexible workforce development fund, which offers opportunities to up-skill and re-skill existing employees.”

College principal Angela Cox added: “Borders College is currently delivering 278 apprenticeships, with this number set to grow.

“Our success in this area is based on the relationships we have built with employers over a long period of time.

“With 97% of our local employers being small or medium enterprises, they trust us to develop our apprentices to the highest quality, and that, in turn, ensures that they are able to sustain a more skilled and qualified workforce in the long term.”