UNEMPLOYMENT in the Borders has soared by almost 20 per cent from last year.

Figures released by the Department for Work and Pensions show a surge of benefits claimants in the past 12 months from 1035 last September to a current figure of 1220.

The unemployment increase is across all age demographics, with a 30-person rise (11 percent) recorded in 18-to-24 year-olds.

Although the year-on-year increase of 18 percent is disappointing, staff at local Jobcentres highlighted a long-term trend which has seen 30 percent reduction in claimants across the Borders since 2013.

Staff at Galashiels Jobcentre are also launching several courses in a bid to help more people back into work.

Customer Services Leader Stephen Glen told us: "We are currently running a Construction SBWA for customers in Galashiels Jobcentre Plus for our unemployed customers keen to work in the Construction Industry.

"It will provide the 12 participants with an opportunity to gain the necessary certification to work in construction.

"Funding has been applied for to run two 50-plus courses in the Gala area aimed at supporting our longer term unemployed customers aged 50 and over.

"These courses will be ready to start once a suitable provider in the area has been sourced."