Apart from the obvious benefits of the redevelopment of the Hawick Campus, which is currently underway, there is also an additional advantage for one local man who has gained full-time employment from Ogilvie Construction, who are the main contractor.
James Kirby, 41 from Hawick, who has been unemployed for eight months, undertook a two week placement as part of his jobseekers benefits requirements and the local Community Benefits scheme. Ogilvie Construction were so impressed with James that he has been employed as a full-time general labourer and is currently working on the Hawick Campus redevelopment in Buccleuch Road.
Commenting on his appointment, James said:
“I was more than happy to take part in the unpaid two week placement so that I could learn some new skills and show that I am keen to learn, and a hard worker.
“When they said they would like to take me on as a general labourer, I was delighted and jumped at the chance. Already I have benefitted from a number of training opportunities, from getting my CSCS card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme), as well as first aid and Health and Safety training.”
Ben Allard, the site Manager for Ogilvie Construction, said:
“I met with John Mallin, from Scottish Borders Council, who explained how the Community Benefits scheme worked, and we were more than happy to participate.
“After the two week placement we saw that James had real potential and could prosper and develop within the industry, so were more than happy to offer him a job.”
“Ogilvie are a forward-thinking company, who value the communities that they work in and realise that you can develop local talent if we create the opportunities.”
In addition to employing James, Ogilvie are using local contractors for some of the work at the campus, including John Laidlaw from Jedburgh, Ferguson and Aitken from Hawick, and are also considering Swinton Builders for some of the building work.
The Hawick redevelopment project will see the Campus, which was opened in 2007, reconfigured to accommodate the Innovation Hub, which is being launched as part of investment by the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SoSEP).
The Community Benefits Scheme, which is operated by Scottish Borders Council and is all about adding value to local communities through the ‘Community Benefits Policy’, looks to ensure that additional benefits are considered when companies undertake construction works, service or supplies contracts within the Borders.
And the next construction job that Ogilvie are moving to, in the Borders, is not that far from the Hawick Campus as they head to Galashiels, to construct the new building which will house the Great Tapestry of Scotland.
The redevelopment of the Hawick Campus is set to be completed by August.
Photos: Top, James Kirby at the Hawick Campus. Below, James with Site Manager Ben Allard.