Borders College recently opened its doors to a group of influential businesses and industry professionals who were invited to hear about the social and economic benefits of learning and education, and how future jobs and the economy will be driven by the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Key note speaker for the event was Wendy Pring, who is Chair of South of Scotland Regional Committee and board member at Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI), STEM ambassador, and Women’s Enterprise Scotland ambassador.

As a civil engineer, who runs an environmental services consultancy, Wendy is passionate about attracting young women into careers in Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) where they are traditionally underrepresented.

Held at Borders College – Centre for Business Development in Hawick, delegates also had the opportunity to find out about the recent STEM Developments at the Hawick Campus. The project, which is part of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SoSEP) investment in the South of Scotland, has the aim of creating a digital learning platform and infrastructure to provide access to learning opportunities for individuals of all ages, irrespective of location.

Borders College Principal, Angela Cox commented:

“Our STEM Hub is part of SoSEP Funded Digital Skills and Learning Network, developed in conjunction with Dumfries & Galloway College. It connects virtually with our Technology Enhanced Care Hub facility on our Galashiels Campus and with the similar hubs in Dumfries & Galloway providing digital learning opportunities through 20 spokes located across the South of Scotland in schools, businesses and community locations.

“By providing expertise and accessibility to technologies locally we will improve productivity for local businesses and prepare your future work force.  In addition, we’ll work with our national innovation centre partners to make innovation locally accessible, leading the way to a progressive future.”

Also addressing delegates, Holly Farnham, the STEM Hub Manager at Borders College went on to say:

“Our passion for sustainability and living with as little environmental impact as possible does not stop with employers. Our communities within the South of Scotland are essential to us as people and colleges. We want our network to be an asset in the communities that they are located and to the South of Scotland as a whole. Community courses and open days will provide a space for engaging with current issues, self-development and meeting new people as well as serving our local businesses by providing the means to upskill and grow.”

Delegates also heard about the latest SCDI projects, research and events designed to support businesses in the South of Scotland, as well as touring the STEM facility and speaking with a number of businesses who were on hand to discuss their products.

In addition to the event and as part of the ongoing partnership, Borders College has developed a hot-desking facility for SCDI members within the Campus. Angela Cox presented Sara Thiam, SCDI Chief Executive, with a plaque to officially mark the launch of the new area.

The event closed with Sara Thiam thanking the College for hosting the event and for their ongoing support, as well as taking the opportunity to remind attendees about the benefits of SCDI.

Sara commented:

“What marks SCDI members out from other organisations is their commitment to an economy in which everyone participates and has a chance to benefit. Scotland’s ambitious climate change targets will drive industry transformation at a scale and pace seldom seen in Scotland. Every sector must play its part to ensure no community is left behind. Colleges play a crucial role in equipping people with the skills which will help organisations succeed and ensure Scotland helps lead the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We’re grateful to Borders College for opening up this unique facility to our members. I know it will prove invaluable to them when they are in the Borders on business.”

As part of the well attended event, which saw over 60 key stakeholders and businesses, ThermaFY Thermal Imaging Software were on hand to discuss and showcase their unique Thermal Imaging software, which can be used via a mobile app and has benefits in both building and home use as well as benefits to those looking after and caring for animals.

Providing information on renewable energy was Muirhall Energy, who are a leading independent developer of renewable energy projects, based in Lanarkshire.

The Royal Society for Edinburgh displayed their ‘Women in Science’ mobile exhibition which celebrates some of Scotland’s finest female scientists.

The official opening of the STEM Hub, in Hawick, will take place in December and there will be opportunities for both the local community and local businesses to visit the Campus to find out about the latest developments in the coming months.

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