From education to employment

Student makes big impression in community work placement

Young Hawick man, Craig Pretswell (aged 18), has been praised by local charity Home Basics for his valued contribution and positive attitude whilst on work placement at their Hawick branch as part of his Borders College course.

Craig, who enrolled at Borders College in 2016 upon leaving Hawick High School with a range of National 4 and 5 qualifications, progressed to the second year of the Skills for Learning and Work course in August 2017.  The course requires students to undertake 2 days of work placement each week for the ‘Personal Development: Self and Work’ unit – Craig currently works for Home Basics every Wednesday, as well as at the Burnfoot Community Hub every Thursday.

Having previously gained work experience in his High School’s kitchen and Rowland’s Café in Selkirk, Craig found that he enjoyed working with others.  Supported by College Work Placement Officer, Bib Hogg, a meeting was arranged with Nicky Watson, Volunteer Support Worker at Home Basics in Hawick, to discuss the potential for a work placement with them.

Home Basics is a registered charity which supports families and people with low incomes by collecting and refurbishing furniture, electrical items and other household goods donated by the public, and selling them on at low prices.  The charity relies on volunteers to help in its Hawick and Walkerburn depots, in turn offering its volunteers access to a wide range of opportunities to learn new skills and further develop existing skills.

With this in mind, it was agreed that recruiting Craig as a work placement student would be mutually beneficial, with Home Basics benefiting from his energy, enthusiasm, ideas, and willingness to learn, and Craig experiencing first-hand the day to day activities of the work environment.

Home Basics feel that they have struck it lucky with Craig, and Nicky Watson commented:


“Craig is a young man with enviable good manners and willingness to help staff at Home Basics with any tasks they may ask of him.  A more willing, polite and presentable young man would be hard to find.

“He has quickly become a valuable member of the volunteer team in Home Basics in Hawick and should continue to develop a range of new skills as the placement progresses.”

Craig’s duties at Home Basics include dealing with customers and liaising with other team members, providing ample opportunity for him to enhance his communication and discussion skills, both key elements in his College course.  He is also currently working to input data onto the computer, an integral part of the delivery service that Home Basics has to offer.

Craig himself said:

“Coming to Borders College was a stepping stone to a new experience for me.  My mum and dad have been very supportive throughout, and my work placement at Home Basics this year has helped me to build my confidence and prepare for future employment.”

Applications to full-time courses at Borders College can be submitted now.  Find out more about Supported Programmes at Borders College and apply online at

Further information about Home Basics, its work, its volunteers and its ethos is available on the Home Basics website, Facebook (Walkerburnor Hawick) or by calling 01896 870455 (Walkerburn) or 01450 363974 (Hawick).

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