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Driving Rural Skills in the South of Scotland

Scottish Borders

25 Jan 2019

The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has welcomed the announcement by Public Finances Minister Kate Forbes of a £156,000 investment to address gaps in the accessibility and availability of rural (forestry, agriculture and horticulture) training across the south of Scotland.

Led by SFC and delivered by Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC), this funding will provide for two mobile learning centres, fitted out with equipment which individual schools, colleges or other businesses would not otherwise be able to access for rural skills courses. These mobile centres will be available to schools across the region to help in the delivery of Rural Skills National 4 and 5 level courses. The colleges will provide suitably qualified staff to deliver the courses as part of an agreed delivery programme.

Complementing this practical hands-on learning, funding will also be used to investigate the development of online rural training packages, building on best practice from elsewhere in the UK and overseas. This element of the programme also has the potential to align with the Hub and Spoke project announced last year, with delivery of courses through the recently commissioned South of Scotland Skills and Learning Network at Borders College (Hawick), Dumfries & Galloway College (Stranraer), the “Bridge” (Dumfries), Eyemouth High School and other schools linked to the network.

Commenting on the funding announcement, Michael Cross, Interim Director of Skills, Access and Outcome Agreements at SFC, said:

“Through active participation in the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, SFC is delighted to be playing a vital role in developing opportunities for young people in the south of Scotland, enabling them to stay in the area, while at the same time addressing urgent skills gaps which will help the local economy to flourish.

“We look forward to working with our partners at SRUC and beyond to ensure the successful delivery of this new programme which will see the provision of both practical skills delivery and online learning, complementing the investment we have already made across the south of Scotland to deliver digital learning through the further and higher education institutions and in partnership with local schools.”