Students will soon be able to learn off-campus, thanks to a new collaborative initiative involving Borders College and Scottish Borders Council with funding from the Scottish Government, as part of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SoSEP) project.
Earlston, Eyemouth, Kelso and Selkirk high schools will all be kitted out with new high-tech video conferencing equipment to allow pupils to work on their higher-level courses from their classrooms without leaving school.
The four ‘Digital Spoke’ sites are set to open in the new academic year as part of the new Digital Hub and Spoke project, which aims to see a step change in the opportunities for accessible education and training for youngsters in the Scottish Borders, and will aid the alignment of the present skills to those of the future skill needs of the economies of not only the Scottish Borders but also the national economy.
The initiative is being run by the College with the support of Scottish Borders Council, and is partly funded through the Scottish Government South of Scotland Skills and Learning Network as part of the SoSEP project with an investment, in this phase of the project, totalling over £90,000, which is part of the total investment of over £6.6 million pounds announced last July.
Head of IT at Borders College Scott Moncrieff commented:
“The aim of the Digital Hub and Spoke project is to allow students across the Scottish Borders easier access to courses and learning offered by the College regardless of their geographical location.
“Currently, pupils from schools in the Borders can be commuting for over an hour each way to attend higher-level courses at the College.
“The aim of the Digital Hub and Spoke project will be to reduce those travel times while keeping choice of subject as wide as possible for students.
“It will see top of the range screens, microphones and video cameras installed at the schools – to connect students with lecturers.”
Councillor Carol Hamilton, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Children and Young People, said:
“This exciting project will help tackle some of the challenges we face as a rural area, making it easier than ever before for our young people to access courses at Borders College.
“Hopefully this initial phase will prove successful and can be expanded to other sites, so even more of our young people can benefit.
“Ensuring that we provide the necessary training and skills within the Scottish Borders, to enable young people to gain jobs in sectors where there is greatest need or growth, is vital to the long-term economy of the area and our communities.
“It is key that this region’s education and training provision aligns to the present and future skill needs of the south of Scotland and wider national economy and this project is an important step towards that long-term goal.”
The money is part of a package of funding awarded to Borders College and Dumfries & Galloway College to 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. Four schools in Dumfries and Galloway have also been identified as recipients to become Digital Spokes. They are Annan Academy, Castle Douglas High School, Douglas Ewart High School and Sanquhar Academy. In addition, The Bridge, located in Dumfries, will also become a Digital Spoke.
- You can find out more about the SoSEP Project at Borders College by clicking on this link.