From education to employment

Partnership event looks to understand rural skills recruitment of the future

An influential gathering of key businesses and agencies met at Borders College recently to deliberate the rural skills workforce needs and future requirements. Stakeholders discussed the challenges the sector faces and potential solutions through working in partnership with the college.


The event took place at a pivotal time when there is much focus on the South of Scotland and the creation of the South of Scotland Economic Agency (SoSEA) in order to support sustainable and economic development for the South of Scotland.

Matt Lancashire, Director of Policy and Public Affairs at the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), welcomed invited guests to the Scottish Borders Campus for this inaugural event.

Commenting on the event Mr Lancashire said:

“SCDI were delighted to host a recent Influencers Dinner at Borders College. SCDI is committed to ensuring sustainable economic growth in the South of Scotland region. Borders College will undoubtedly be a key driver of this shared ambition going forward. SCDI are enthusiastic about the commitment from Borders College to establish STEM hubs in the South of Scotland to drive productivity.”

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Network (SCQF) Chief Executive, Aileen Ponton, addressed the group and highlighted the fact that over 434,800 people currently work in the land-based industry sector and that the industry produces 27% of the overall Scottish economy.

Ms Ponton went on to say that:

“The future workforce needs to be highly valued, flexible, adaptive and made up of skilled people who are able to develop and respond to the ever changing employment landscape.”

Borders College Principal Angela Cox said:

“In partnership with SCDI, this was a great opportunity to bring together the key stakeholders operating in the rural sector. We are in a positive position in order to help shape and influence the rural economy by providing a talent pool that has the appropriate skillset to meet the demands of the industry.

“Borders College will continue to work collaboratively and innovatively with partners and businesses across the South of Scotland to ensure that the rural sector continues to thrive and meet the opportunities posed by industry 4.0.”


Photo Left to right

Aileen Ponton – Chief Executive, SCQF Partnership; Lord James Joicey – Director, Ford and Etal Estates; Sheila Voas – Chief Veterinary Officer (Scotland), Scottish Government; Michael Bayne – Director, Borders Machinery Ring Ltd; Mary Thomson – Curriculum and Learning Manager, Borders College; Russel Griggs – Chair, South of Scotland Economic Partnership; Tony Jakimciw – Chair, Borders College; Liz Barron-Majerik – Director, Lantra Scotland; Angela Cox – Principal, Borders College; Matt Lancashire – Director of Policy and Public Affairs, SCDI and Jayne Gracie – Assistant Principal, Borders College.

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