David Mundell is Conservative MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale

Shop campaign milestone

There was another milestone in the campaign to bring back a village shop to Broughton on Monday evening.

Upper Tweed Community Enterprise (UTCE) launched their community shop share offer at an evening event in the village hall.

I believe this is an excellent initiative which will return a much-needed community facility to a rural area of my constituency.

There are various fund-raising streams but the sale of shares to local people will be a vital part of securing the closed shop premises for the community.

Local people still have the opportunity to become stakeholders in the project and buy shares. A full business plan is available on line at the UTCE website.

Fantastic caring community

I was pleased to visit Garvald West Linton recently to catch up with the team's valuable work with adults who have learning difficulties.

They offer a range of residential care and creative day opportunities in a fantastic rural environment with craft workshops and even their own bakery.

It was good to meet with manager Rab Crichton to learn about latest the developments at the country house and farm and to discuss a wide range of topics, including ongoing fundraising.

'Earn as you learn' a great concept

It is not so long ago that apprentices were part of workforces, large and small, across the Scottish Borders and beyond.

Indeed, in the textile industry there were a range of trades where young people would learn their specialist skills over a four or five-year period, perhaps attending a night class or part-time college course in the process.

This earn as you learn concept was an effective way of passing on knowledge and skills down the generations and maintaining continuity in a wide range of businesses, trades and crafts.

An apprenticeship for many young people provides a great starting point in their career and can be a good alternative to university.

Last week's Scottish Apprenticeship Week, promoted by Skills Development Scotland, and a similar initiative south of the border, were a good shop window for the opportunities available.