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Selkirk Firm Hosts Skills Investment Plan Launch

An ambitious plan focusing on the skills needs of people and businesses across the South of Scotland has been launched by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) Chair Frank Mitchell and SOSEP Chair Russel Griggs at a visit to Selkirk-based employer Border Safeguard.

The Regional Skills Investment Plan for the south of Scotland aims to provide a greater choice of career pathways for the region’s young people, while offering more opportunities for upskilling and reskilling to the current workforce.

Alan Wheelans, Managing Director of Border Safeguard said: "We were honoured to host the launch event for the Regional Skills Investment Plan. Having been asked as a result of the work we do in developing our young workforce was a real endorsement of our business strategy, and very much appreciated by our entire team, including our young apprentices."

Skills Development Scotland logoDeveloped by Skills Development Scotland (SDS) alongside the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP), the plan involves a range of partners collaborating to agree a set of actions around the supply and demand of skills in the region to support inclusive economic growth.

They include:
  • Improving access to education, skills and training
  • Better meeting the skills needs of all employers
  • Growing and developing the workforce
  • Developing a region for young people
  • Creating a culture of enterprise and innovation
  • Future-proofing the skills system

Mr Griggs said: “The plan is a product of deep engagement with numerous partner organisations, employers, parents and, critically, young people across the region. This has formed the basis of strong regional partnership working that will enable successful delivery.

“The plan must be flexible to reflect new opportunities and deal with further external challenges. SOSEP has begun that journey by investing about £7 million in expanding what the two local colleges can do to make sure we can train our local people in different things, in different places and in different ways.”

Could You be One of the Best in Borders Business?

Enter your business in the Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards 2019

The Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards 2019 is now open for entries.

Businesses, community groups, and charities are being encouraged to submit their entry for the Scottish Borders Business Excellence Awards 2019 following the opening of entries on the 3rd of June.

The region’s flagship business event, organised by the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce for the fifth successive year, is once again sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland.

We've already started to see the entries come in so this year is already looking like our most competitive yet!

Don't delay, get your application submitted today.

Tour of Britain Returns to Kelso

The OVO Energy Tour of Britain, the country’s biggest professional cycle race and largest free to spectate event, will return to the Scottish Borders in September for both the start and finish of stage two.

After successfully hosting a stage finish in both 2015 and 2017, the Tour’s organisers have worked with Scottish Borders Council to bring the event back to Kelso for both the start and finish of the stage on Sunday 8th September.

The full route will also be entirely in the Scottish Borders. Starting from Kelso town centre, the riders will complete an anti-clockwise loop via Coldstream, Chirnside, the Lammermuirs and Duns before heading, via Scott’s View, to Melrose and around the Eildon Hills, before a fast run back alongside the River Tweed to the cobbled finish in Kelso. More details will be revealed in due course.

Councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s Executive Member for Business and Economic Development, said: “This will be the seventh time in 10 years that the Scottish Borders has hosted the Tour of Britain, but importantly this is the first time that we’ve had both a stage start and finish and also the full stage route.

“The organisers were delighted with the Kelso town centre venue two years ago, and the Council has worked with them to develop an exciting plan and route – one that again emphasises our position as Scotland’s leading cycling destination.

Tour of Britain Stage 2 Route

“We know that the 2017 stage finish in Kelso brought many thousands of visitors in to the area, and had an extremely positive impact for local shops, cafes and accommodation providers. It is estimated that the economic impact was £1.5million then, and once again we hope that the traders in Kelso and along the route will embrace this latest opportunity.

“Our ongoing commitment, and investment, to bring international quality events to the area, such as the Tour of Britain, and support local events to grow and develop, is a major part of our economic development strategy as they can have a hugely significant impact on the local economy, both around the events themselves and in their legacy.”

Find Out More

Come along on Tuesday 25th June to the Cross Keys Hotel, Kelso from 2-4:30pm to find out more. The session, organised by Scottish Borders Council, will enable local people and businesses to find out more about the Tour of Britain’s visit to the Scottish Borders on Sunday 8th September, including information about road closures and parking restrictions in Kelso and marketing opportunities.

Join the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce today!
General news articles

Achieving Wellness in the Workplace

Achieving wellness in the workplace remains a popular topic, mainly when talking about staff satisfaction and business productivity. We spoke to Dr Wendy Mackay of The Psychology Office, based in Melrose, to find out more. Dr Mackay kindly drafted the following article, exclusively for the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce.

Dr Wendy Mackay - The Psychology Office
The work of a Psychologist in the workplace aims to increase emotional health and results in increased staff engagement and improved overall productivity for the business.

By necessity, any approach is multifaceted or complex given that all workplace environments comprise of staff who are managers and staff who are managed and all have the goal of ensuring that the business is thriving. The fundamental goal for everyone is the same, but the means of achieving that goal may differ depending on the staff member’s understanding of their role in the organisation.

Gallup Poll (2017)
A Gallup Poll carried out in 2017 established that “only 30% of employees ‘strongly agree’ that their views count at work.” Gallup calculated that by “moving that ratio to 60% of employees, organisations could realise a 27% reduction in staff turnover, a 40% reduction in safety incidents and a 12% increase in productivity.”

Business and Clinical Psychology
A Business or Clinical Psychologist takes into account the multiple aspects of the workplace that influence staff members. The first step identifies the issues that relate to the workplace and those that relate to the staff in the workplace. In the second step, the Psychologist introduces an appropriate programme, often to be implemented by the team, to suit the needs of the business.  

Dealing with issues of employee wellness or wellbeing within the workplace involves analysing work-related situations that lead to the distress experienced by employees at any level, or that result in lower than expected results within the business. Observation of interactions within teams or groups helps to identify those who influence and those who are being affected by any leadership or colleague interaction or conflict.

Any work undertaken by the Psychologist is generally initially identified by the organisation. Working with the organisation, the Psychologist may identify work that would be appropriate with individuals or with groups; with staff or with management. Increased understanding of what is affecting employee wellbeing at work is essential before the introduction of potential solutions. Solutions may include improving confidence or self-esteem; enabling the individual to engage effectively; improving presentation skills; overcoming fear of failure; learning about stress, anxiety, depression or other emotional reactions. Additional types of work involve providing information or support in improving communication skills; the psychology of change; leadership skills; group skills; how to deal with bullying in the workplace, or executive coaching. Programmes can be designed and tailored to the specific needs of the organisation. These topics, as well as specific emotional issues, are all examples of assessment and training programmes that are requested by a business.

We can provide a portfolio of information that can be regularly updated and which gives managers and staff the tools to identify and deal with the psychological issues relevant in their workplace. We also provide training and mentoring to support staff in increasing employee wellness in their workplace.

Wendy Mackay, M.A., M.Sc., M.Sc., PhD., CPsychol., MABP.
Consultant Business Psychologist and Clinical Psychologist
Click here for the latest Q1 2019 Tourism Barometer Survey results.
CABN is seeking tenders for a feasibility study. For more informaiton click here.
Click here to access the Business Gateway July to September programme of workshops.
Business mentoring from the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce
Get in touch with the Chamber

Do you have a business update you'd like us to share for you? If so, please don't hesitate to get in touch. Just email Emily at

We would be delighted to help spread the word about the diverse and dynamic business community of the Scottish Borders.

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