PUPILS from three Borders schools are set to benefit from an award-winning employability skills programme.

The Building My Skills initiative, which brings together school pupils and prospective employers, has been developed by Esh Border Construction over the last seven years.

Its aim is to offer students a well-rounded introduction to the world of work, equip them with valued employability skills, and deliver relevant and worthwhile advice from real business people.

Entering its third academic year in Scotland, Building My Skills is delivered at no cost to any school or student, and has received national recognition including Business in the Community’s coveted National Big Tick for Education Partnership and CECA National Inspiring Education National awards.

Developing Young Workforce (DYW), who aim to better prepare children and young people up to the age of 18 for the world of work, helped bring the programme to local schools.

DYW Borders Programme Manager, Andrea Hall told us: “Esh Border Construction’s programme is the perfect opportunity for employers to raise awareness of their company and sector and a chance to motivate and inspire students about the world beyond school.

“We are delighted to support the programme and we hope to extend it to other Border schools next year.”

Galashiels Academy, Hawick High School and Berwickshire High School are just three of the 14 schools across Scotland involved.

The first sessions took place in Hawick High School last week.

And this week it is the turn of pupils at Galashiels Academy to reap the benefits of the scheme.

A session will also be held at Berwickshire High School on September 19.

Many businesses in the Borders have committed to the programme including Turnbull and Scott, Lyle & Scott, NHS Borders, R P Adam, Spark Energy, A Hume Country Clothing, Eildon Housing Association and SoConnect.

Ally Ratcliffe, DYW Rep at Hawick High School, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this opportunity to all our S5 pupils to gain valuable employability skills with our local employers and Esh.

“With the national agenda of Developing the Young Workforce Hawick High School recognises how important employability and transferable skills for our young people as we want to prepare our young people well for their next steps after school whether it be training, college, university or employment.

“All of these paths require the young people to be able to have key core skills such as teamwork, communication, organisation and initiative and we believe this programme offers the chance for our young people to develop much more than this.”

Students receive five 45-minute sessions throughout the academic year from a range of business sectors as part of the programme.

Each session is delivered by a different business guest who will provide insight into their career path, their sector, valued employability skills and support the completion of a ‘checkpoint’ such as CV or cover letter.

Darush Dodds, head of corporate responsibility at Esh, added: “The collaborative nature of Building My Skills is what makes it such a unique offering and we’re very excited by this year’s programme.

“It is great to see so many businesses on board as we look to deliver worthwhile quality careers information to the workforce of the future.”

Students who successfully complete the programme will be invited to the regional mock interview day where they will be interviewed by a local employer.

A total of 42 businesses are taking part in the programme this year in Scotland.

Jen Henderson, programme manager with DYW said: “The Building My Skills programme provides a fantastic forum to develop the employability of students.

“The programme is delivered by a community of business partners who, by the wide array of businesses and sectors they represent, also offer a diverse breadth of insights which we haven’t seen before.

“DYW Forth Valley are really excited to be part of this and supporting Esh and the business partners to grow and develop our future workforce in Scotland.”