UNEMPLOYMENT in the Borders fell towards the end of 2017.

And Jobcentre bosses are confident the trend will continue into this year as several local companies are currently expanding.

The latest figures, for up to the end of November, show that there are a total of 1030 people in the region claiming unemployment benefits - a drop of seven per cent in 12 months.

Unemployment within the 16-to-24s, currently standing at 230, has dropped by 13 per cent in the same period.

With Selkirk timber-frame manufacturer Oregon and Kelso electronics firm Plexus both recruiting, as well as Spark Energy and Hinduja Global Solutions, it is hoped the numbers will continue to drop.

Mike Niven from the Galashiels Jobcentre said: "The outlook is healthy with several companies recruiting at the moment.

"Many seasonal jobs are coming up as well with holiday parks starting their recruitment processes.

"In the past we have focussed on the 16-to-24-year-olds to get them into work, but that focus is now switching towards people who are over 50 and we will be trying to help those customers find suitable employment."

A Keys to Employment course started this week, in partnership with Scottish Borders Council and Borders College.

A total of 15 unemployed Borders will be given training to help find jobs as well as other life skills.

An IT and administration course will also be held by the local jobcentres next month.

The courses, which are run in conjunction with NHS Borders and Borders College, will allow eight people to learn the skills required for NHS admin posts.

Across Scotland, the figures for the three months to November show that unemployment fell by one per cent from the previous year.