The South of Scotland is to benefit from an investment of just over 6.6 million pounds as part of plans approved by the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SoSEP) to enable the creation of a digital learning platform and infrastructure that aims to provide access to learning opportunities for individuals of all ages, irrespective of location.
The investment will see a partnership between Dumfries & Galloway College and Borders College develop a network of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) Hubs across the South of Scotland to address the immediate skills gaps in areas such as Energy and Engineering, Construction and Care. These will be accessible to school and college students and employers wishing to try the latest technologies or upskill their current workforce. A number of digital spokes, located across the South of Scotland in schools, community venues and in local business premises provide inclusive access. Lessons delivered elsewhere will be open for others to participate in along with online learning resources.
Through this investment, the colleges will collaborate to develop their offer within their respective regions, especially at higher levels and grow their online flexible learning provision over the next 5 years.
Commenting on the announcement, Carol Turnbull, CEO of Dumfries & Galloway College said:
“A key role of colleges is to support inclusive economic growth through vocational, professional and technical education and training and by supporting business innovation. This investment will enable Dumfries and Galloway and Borders Colleges to transform their educational delivery to meet the needs of learners, industry, and communities and to support business innovation through the use of technology.”
Angela Cox, CEO of Borders College, said:
“ I am delighted that the SOSEP recognises the importance of skills in supporting our businesses to improve productivity. This project gives us a platform to transform how we provide learning opportunities for everyone within the Borders Region. I look forward to collaborating with Dumfries & Galloway College and other educational providers as we develop and expand our curriculum offer and see this as the start of a long-term transformation of our educational delivery”.
Care Career Academy development
As part of the ambitious plans, Borders College and Dumfries and Galloway College will see a significant investment in their respective Care Career Academies. These were set up to encourage individuals to consider the Health & Care sector as a career choice and support programme”. The creation of enhanced facilities allowing for greater flexible learning opportunities utilising digital technologies via the planned learning hubs and the adoption of the latest technologies will prepare the current and future workforce to adopt new techniques and practice.
This innovative partnership between Borders College and Dumfries and Galloway College will allow for the sharing of knowledge and expertise between the two organisations through the utilisation of digital platforms which will allow training to be provided remotely to users and broaden the training offer from foundation to degree level.
Collaborative working between Borders College and Dumfries and Galloway College will see the two organisations addressing the skills shortage and accessibility of innovative technologies within the Construction and Engineering sector.
Borders College will lead on Construction and Sustainability whilst Dumfries and Galloway College will lead on Engineering and Renewables, bringing to local employers the latest technologies that are transforming these industries.
Borders College in Hawick will see the campus reconfigured to provide an enhanced provision for the innovative STEM Hub in Construction and Renewables. Once in place, the Hawick Campus will promote the training and development of new and emerging technologies in the construction and renewables industries. This exciting and essential Hub will become a key element for both local and national companies, along with schools and communities, in the upskilling of both the current and future workforce.
The development of the Hub in Dumfries and a mini Hub in Stranraer has seen support given from not only the Energy Skills Partnership but also local and national businesses with the potential for the Stranraer Hub to open up links with Ireland.
Engineering and Renewables is a much needed and developing sector across the South of Scotland. The facilities will provide cutting-edge renewable techniques supported by innovative learning approaches. Accessibility across the South of Scotland will be enabled by both hubs being virtually connected.