From education to employment

Department of Enterprise and Innovation to benefit from newly appointed Director

Katharine Mathison

@BordersCollege employee Katharine Mathison was recently promoted to Director of the Department of Enterprise and Business Innovation (DEBI) at Borders College and is relishing the challenge ahead.

Her new role comes with great responsibility where she will have to lead and inspire a delivery team to meet their targets and goals through innovative practice. During her time in her new position, she will develop positive working relationships with both public and private sector partners to further develop commercial opportunities.

She said:

“I am delighted to have been appointed as Director of the Department of Enterprise and Business Innovation, formerly the Business Development Unit (BDU), at the Borders College Hawick site, and this is a great opportunity to support the department and develop our provision to meet the changing needs of businesses in the Scottish Borders.”

Katharine also mentioned how difficult and challenging the last few months have been but powered through with the never-ending support from her strong, hard-working team who she is confident will continue to build on their success and strengthen their existing relationships with partners and stakeholders.

During the global pandemic, Katharine’s usual work routine changed to remote working. Despite having more time at home, her workload increased significantly, alongside everyone else in her department. As work was made online, the reliance on technology became greater, and Katharine acknowledged that this could lead to feeling more isolated. With lockdown being made stricter and the workload increasing, the stress of isolation became quite high but living in the countryside and being able to go outside to exercise was a good way to unwind and escape the constant busy work mindset.

One of the positives that came out of working from home was the chance for the DEBI to develop opportunities to link with other organisations such as Edinburgh University. One of those ideas is to develop a “Creative Cafe”, with the intention to drive creativity and innovation. This will allow new ways of working to develop and deliver new courses in different ways, reaching new audiences and markets. The Department is also hoping to develop a webinar series with WES to promote entrepreneurship for women.

“I would like to develop collaborative partnerships that will cement the position of Borders College as an innovative and proactive centre of excellence,” said Katharine.

Katharine and her team will provide innovative, life-changing learning opportunities that will prepare the students for global citizenship. They will create high-quality learning and training opportunities which are relevant, enabling and flexible.

Katharine went on to say:

“Our work with the Maritime Training Network, WES and Edinburgh University will enable greater collaboration, sharing of specialist knowledge and development of Borders College as an innovative and proactive college with a higher profile in the sector and nationally.”

Katharine also recognises the importance of engagement with the wider community and other stakeholders to ensure that the commercial courses provided by the college are relevant and address the needs of local businesses and individuals.

Katharine added:

“The development of our Stakeholder Engagement Strategy will enable us to identify new partners in order to grow business and ensure that we are sustainable long term. It will also begin to develop us as the “go-to” college for qualifications in work-based learning as well as strengthening our relationships with existing partners and stakeholders.

“We will take a leading role in enabling an inclusive, resilient and sustainable Scotland, lead by example, collaborate with others, and develop our links to other institutions and larger companies.”

All and all, Borders College has a lot to offer and with Katharine working hard in her new job, Borders College will become the “go-to” college before you know it.

Borders College offers countless, amazing and unmissable opportunities for all skills and abilities and, as the author of this article, I was delighted to be invited to interview Katharine. I, myself, am a former Borders College student and studied Journalism there in 2019/20. Although my course was only part-time as I was still at High School, the vibe college gave was a strong sense of independence and helped bring out my creative side which made me realise that Journalism is the career path I want to take. Throughout the period of my course, I was taught the structure of articles, how to use certain words and quotes and many more skills. By the end of the course, I was qualified with an NPA which helped me progress onto studying Journalism in Glasgow where I am now writing for The Scottish Sun newspaper. In October, I helped the BBC with a new series where I had to conduct an interview and get him to open up about his drug addiction and how different his life is now as he’s an activist and author. One of the most valuable things I was taught at Borders College was how to prepare for an interview and how to make my questions flow. This proved really helpful for when I was working with the BBC.

Ruth Ridley (Author)

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