From education to employment

Deputy First Minister pays a ‘virtual visit’ to Borders College

@BordersCollege continues to play a significant role in supporting the economic and social prosperity of the south of Scotland. So much so that John Swinney, Deputy First Minister for Scotland, took time to meet staff and students virtually this week ahead of the second Convention of the South of Scotland.

Borders College Principal Angela Cox hosted the virtual meeting, at which Mr Swinney heard from students who are studying on a number of programmes, including the ground-breaking Scottish Racing Academy Programme.

Students from across the Borders, who are attending the Scottish Racing Academy course, spoke with the Deputy First Minister about why they had chosen the course and their future ambitions. Curriculum Learning Manager Darren Burns explained to Mr Swinney how this industry-sponsored programme was delivered, with students learning in real racing stables within the Borders, supplemented with online and face-to-face theory delivery. Mr Burns was delighted to share with the ‘online’ audience that this innovative programme has been shortlisted for a national award in the annual College Development Network Awards.

Mr Swinney then went on to hear about the Civil Engineering Foundation Apprenticeship.

This course helps young people gain valuable, real-world work experience and access work-based learning while they’re still at school, and it’s a chance for them to get a head start on their careers by gaining an industry-recognised qualification, working on real projects and broadening their career options when they leave school. On successful completion of the Foundation Apprenticeship, students are able to progress onto a degree-level qualification or straight into employment. This programme is one of a number of STEM programmes being delivered through our Regional STEM Hub, in partnership with schools and universities.

Mr Swinney took a keen interest in what the students and staff had to say about their positive learning experience, which combines practical learning in an industry setting and digital lessons.

Commenting on the eVisit, Mr Swinney said:  

“Borders College is able to play to the many strengths that its surrounding region has to offer in terms of mountain biking, rugby and horse riding, as well as the numerous other learning opportunities provided through the School/College Partnership Programme and its own comprehensive academic offering, in appealing to not only people from the Borders but further afield too.”

Borders College Principal Angela Cox went on to say:

“The two programmes that we have heard about today, the Scottish Racing Academy and the Foundation Apprenticeship in Civil Engineering, are excellent examples of how Borders College is responding to our regional and national socio-economic priorities as a leading provider for skills development.

“I am extremely grateful to Mr Swinney for taking time to meet with our staff and students and hear, first-hand, about the innovative and collaborative way in which Borders College is developing skills for the future and empowering our learners to make positive choices about their careers.”

Heather Anderson Vice Principal for the Curriculum and Angela Cox also had the opportunity to update Mr Swinney on a number of other key developments and projects, including the bursary laptop loan scheme, which has seen over 450 devices allocated to students, to innovative projects such as the new Boat Building course being offered throughout Scotland.

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