Deputy first minister unveils initiative
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Scottish deputy first minister John Swinney has launched a new £6.7m digital network aimed at improving access to training for students from across the South of Scotland.
The Skills and Learning Network, funded by the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SoSEP) and run by Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Colleges, will extend access to training and learning opportunities across the region.
New hubs will aim to address skills gaps in key sectors such as care, renewable energy, construction and engineering.
They will be based at college campuses in Dumfries, Galashiels, Stranraer and Hawick, allowing students to take part in classes online.
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Swinney said: “The South of Scotland Skills and Learning Network will broaden access to teaching for students and learners of all ages right across the region. With a clear focus on areas that have growing regional job opportunities, the ability to develop key skills without having to relocate will provide so many more people with an excellent start to their careers, or the chance to retrain to branch out into new areas.”
He added: “Today marks the launch of the network and I look forward to seeing how the colleges develop the technological platform that has been created here to its fullest potential. The Scottish Government has now approved funding for 30 SoSEP projects. Alongside the South of Scotland Enterprise agency which will launch on 1 April, the work of SoSEP will help us maximise the full economic potential of the south.”
SoSEP was created by the Scottish government two years to “respond to the economic needs and opportunities” of the region.
The partnership is comprised of seven healthcare and local-government entities, as well as businesses, third-sector organisations, and higher-education institutions.