LOCAL school pupils joined local businessman Alan Wheelans and the Developing the Young Workforce (DYW) Borders team to mark the first anniversary of the Scottish Government programme in the region.

One of 21 teams in Scotland, the programme aims to establish sustainable links between employers and education to better prepare young people for the world of work.

The Borders-based group, which officially launched in January 2017, has achieved significant success in its first year; engaging with over 2500 pupils, from all nine high schools and some primary schools, working with 148 businesses and delivering 63 events.

The positive impact of the work to date has not gone unnoticed.

Link member Jim Duffy MBE said: “As the national link member for DYW Borders, I am in awe of the progress being made.

"The team in the Borders, working in true partnership with so many others, are developing a blueprint that has captured the attention of others in Scotland.

"It is a privilege to work with them and I just know 2018 will be one to watch."

DYW Borders work with a range of partners such as CITB, Scottish Borders Social Enterprise Chamber, Youth Borders, Royal Highland Educational Trust and many local businesses.

Andrea Hall, Programme Manager with DYW Borders, told us: “We are thrilled with the response we’ve had from everyone who has been involved with the first year of Developing the Young Workforce Borders.

"The commitment from both employers and education has been exceptional and there is clearly a real desire to make a difference to our young people’s future.

"We look forward to building on these partnerships and providing even more opportunities for young people in the Borders in 2018 and beyond.”

Borders chairman Anthony Barlow is confident of the programme’s continuing success.

He said: “The exceptional success is a tribute to the Borders community - business, council, college and schools - embracing DYW and working together to help our young.

"Everybody involved should be very proud of what has been achieved. The delivery of initiatives such as careers fairs, workshops, work experience and apprenticeships, ensures a foundation is now in place to reach out to thousands of pupils in 2018.

"Andrea and her team are making a huge difference and deserve praise for their inspirational work.”