From education to employment

Borders to benefit as governments to sign off Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal

The Scottish Borders will benefit from not only multi-million pound investment but an economically stronger wider region thanks to the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal, which will be signed off today (Tuesday 7 August) by the UK and Scottish governments.

The deal represents several years’ worth of work behind the scenes by the six local authority partners and the region’s universities and colleges, in conjunction with both governments.

It will provide jobs for the future and address key economic barriers and issues which have restricted the region’s economic potential.

Councillor Shona Haslam, Leader of Scottish Borders Council, said: “The real value in this City Region Deal is the reach and impact that the deal will have on not just our area but the south and east of Scotland as a whole. The significant investment in innovation, employability and skills, transport, culture and housing across the whole region will have real benefits for the Scottish Borders.

“Specifically for the Borders, the £15million for the Central Borders Innovation Park at Tweedbank will help deliver the first phase, developing much needed high quality business space. This will stimulate business growth, improve our inward investment offer, particularly to high value sectors, and in turn create jobs, especially better quality, higher paid jobs that the Scottish Borders lacks currently.

“This is the first stage in a much larger project that has the potential to deliver hundreds of jobs over many years and bring £353m into the Scottish Borders.”

In addition to the City Region Deal commitment, phase one of the Central Borders Innovation Park will be funded by Scottish Borders Council (£5m) Borders Railway Blueprint (£3.5m), Scottish Enterprise (£1.5m) and the private sector (£4.1m).

A £25m investment over eight years in a region-wide employability and skills programme will also directly benefit the area and its young people.

Borders College is among the partners to have been working to identify how an integrated regional programme can harness the potential that key employment sectors offer residents and also tackle skills gaps across the city region. 

For the Scottish Borders specifically, projects looking at construction and digital skills are being explored, as well as a pilot to reduce rural barriers to education and work.

Angela Cox, Principal of Borders College, said: “We are delighted to be working with all of the key partners on this exciting and innovative project which will ensure that the current and future workforce are not digitally disadvantaged, enabling businesses and employees to access a new range of qualifications and learning methods to meet the future demands of industry and address skills shortages.”

Councillor Haslam added: “The City Region Deal is good for the Scottish Borders as a whole and will enable us to maximise the delivery of affordable housing, stimulate private sector investment and support local jobs, and will be a further step towards ensuring that our young people can see a future for themselves within the Scottish Borders.

“It will accelerate growth in the area and make for a stronger city region, which can drive even more growth for Scotland and the UK. A thriving Scottish Borders in a wider successful city region will breed further investment and growth in the future.”

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