The newly launched STEM Hub, based at the Borders College Hawick Campus, played host to local businesses and stakeholders recently with an event aimed at raising awareness of the provision available to the Borders community from the newly reconfigured resource.

The breakfast networking event saw Deirdre McKendry, Director of Business Development at the College, welcome attendees before keynote speaker for the event Stuart Hawthorn, Technical Sales Manager from Travis Perkins, addressed attendees on energy efficiency and climate change along with the future of the heat pump market in the UK construction industry, with a particular eye on the UK Government’s commitment to 2050 Net Zero Carbon Target.

Following the interesting presentation, delegates were invited to tour the facilities and see the range of equipment and training opportunities on offer to the construction industry within the Scottish Borders.

Deirdre McKendry commented:

“The purpose of today is to start a conversation with those involved in the construction sector and make sure they are aware of the expertise that Borders College is able to offer, both in terms of practical training and the loan of high-end renewables technology.

“Very often we hear that businesses would like to invest and upskill their staff in renewables awareness but getting started can be complex and expensive. Our job is to act as enablers and get companies confident with not only the practical training but also using and trying the different technologies before making their own investments.

“We have a number of financial incentives that we are able to offer companies, as well as being able to advise on potential funding streams.”

Davie Lowe, Borders College Assistant Principal, went on to say:

“It’s an exciting time for the renewables and construction sector, and Borders College is rightly placed to respond to the needs of local businesses and other stakeholders with our investment in the Hawick STEM Hub.

“In addition, every college in Scotland must offer renewables training as part of any plumbing apprenticeship and we want to ensure that our students get the very best opportunity to be at the forefront of a skilled labour market.”

Some of the courses on offer from Borders College include: Renewable and Energy Efficiency, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Thermal Imaging awareness, Air Tightness testing and Electric Vehicle Charging Point Installation. If businesses are looking to find out about and utilise the latest renewables equipment, the STEM Hub also has Thermal Imaging Cameras (including drone), 3D printers, laptops with BIM software and VR headsets, so a call to the STEM Hub is all that is needed.

As part of the extensive range of equipment on show was the ‘Smart Technologies Station’ which showcased Rointe electric heaters, Yale alarms and smart locks, Smart lights, Hive heating, Netatmo home technologies – all of which can be controlled from a smart device such as an iPad or Amazon Echo or Alexa.

Members of the general public are also to be invited to view the Hub at an open event, to take place later in the year.

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