From education to employment

Train to Gain – developing the skills of the workforce

Mia Thompson in mask and hat
@BordersCollege – Despite the circumstances, March delivered the latest successful Train to Gain course in conjunction with @NHSBorders. In the absence of work placements, the course was adapted to give the candidates a fulfilling experience.

Offering either an Administration or General Service focus, the content was specific to these areas. Completion of the four weeks saw the candidates gain recognised certificates in Health and Safety, Food Hygiene and Data Science.

There was also ‘a Day in the Life’ where Board Secretary for NHS Borders, Iris Bishop shared her experiences and gave the group an invaluable insight into her busy and vital role.

Mia Thomson successfully achieved the Administration route of the course and subsequently secured a Modern Apprenticeship position with Scottish Borders Council. Delighted with her achievement, Mia spoke to us about her success:

“I graduated from college in 2016 after completing my SVQ in Beauty Therapy and then worked in the industry until I decided to change career paths. I was looking for something office-based, I began working in customer service roles from then on.

“The course came to mind when I had recently been made redundant and I was looking to make myself stand out to new employers and wanted to feel more confident in my abilities, as I had not made full use of my Microsoft Excel skills since college.

“As the course was coming to its end I had secured a Modern Apprenticeship with Scottish Borders Council for Environmental Health – Business Administration, currently I am just settling into the job and looking forward to completing my SVQ Level 3 in Business Admin and trying to secure a full-time position at the end of my apprenticeship.

“I couldn’t quite believe how simplified online learning was! I would follow our online timetable for our classes and join our class through Microsoft Teams and our lectures would explain our work and send us our tasks to complete in our own study time.  The access granted by the college to use the free Microsoft package made completing our work hassle-free.

“It was only a call or email away for any support. The lectures arranged for us to have speakers from the field we were aiming to get careers in to tell us a day in their role and about the company to give us additional knowledge to support us.

“I would 100% recommend the course to others. If you are looking for your chance to get your foot in the door or start a new career path, go for it! Now is the perfect time to try something new and if you want to start afresh, the course will give you that jump-start!”

Fiona Turnbull, Account Manager Contracts, Procurement & Employability commented:

“I am delighted to hear that Mia has secured a job in her new career path and that the Train to Gain course helped her to achieve this by refreshing her skills and gaining confidence.  Due to COVID restrictions, the course was online and it’s great to hear how well it worked for Mia.  We wish her all the best with her apprenticeship.”

Not only has attendance on the course been a positive for Mia in gaining her apprenticeship, following his achievements, Iain Bell is also taking steps in his future career by securing employment within the NHS at the Borders General Hospital.

Iain commented:

“The course helped me be more aware and be more thoughtful about my actions when dealing with others.  After working 20 years as a Lab Technician in production control, the course gave me a better understanding and appreciation of why some people act the way they do.”

Commenting on the delivery method of the course, Iain added

“I think the online learning approach is actually better than classroom-based work, as I found it more relaxed and less formal, giving more time to work at your own rate and when time suits. Support was great as someone is only an e-mail away and I always had a quick response to any problems/questions. I would recommend the course as everything is explained simply.”

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