THROUGHOUT May teachers have been following the lead of pupils by getting out of the classroom and into the workplace.

A total of 39 secondary teachers from the area have been experiencing life on the shopfloor as part of a pioneering education project.

The initiative, which is the first of its kind in Scotland, is the brainchild of the Selkirk-based Developing the Young Workforce Borders (DYWB) team.

Appropriate placements for the teachers were found in superstores, country estates, textiles mills, food processing companies, factories and laboratories.

It is hoped that by giving teachers the opportunity to experience a day in the life of the modern workplace they will take the learning back into the classroom for the benefit of the pupils.

Chairman of DYW Borders Nick Bannerman, who is also managing director of Johnstons of Elgin in Hawick, told us: "This initiative demonstrates a clear commitment from both education and industry to bring the world of work into the classroom.

"It is an opportunity to influence the influencers and for teachers to better understand and identify the technical and soft skills that are required by industry and for education to work closely with Borders employers on incorporating this into the curriculum.

"For Borders businesses, not only does it raise the profile of those willing to get involved, it identifies the employment opportunities they can offer and the pathways that are available to our youngsters which in truth has been lacking for too long."

The DYWB team have worked hard to ensure that all of the placements are relevant to each teacher’s subject area.

One Biology teacher spent a day at the microbiology laboratory at Ashwood UK in Tweedbank and a Principal Teacher Pastoral experienced the employment opportunities within Scottish Power Energy Networks.

All of the teachers have benefited from a site visit, an overview of the company and have the opportunity to meet key people.

The initiative covers a wide range of employers such as NHS, British Gas and Asda, to social enterprises Breadworks and Grow to Work, and local employers including RP Adam, Buccleuch Estates, Johnstons of Elgin, the Carfraemill Hotel and Farne Salmon.

Mr Bannerman added: "This is by far the most significant change in thinking and practice in my 25 years working here.

"I believe this will enable us to make a real difference to the Borders region, reaching out to our future workforce and identifying careers that local families perhaps don’t realise exist, futureproofing businesses and improving lifestyles for generations to come.

"Ultimately, Developing the Young Workforce bridges the gap between industry and education to engage, inspire and shape our young workforce in the Borders.”

Initial feedback from the initiative has been positive and it is hoped the work placements will become an annual event.