A SELKIRK firm is leading the way in the security sector with its pledge to develop engineers of the future, both within the Scottish Borders and across Scotland.

In his role as Scottish Regional Chair for the British Security Industry Association, Alan Wheelans, managing director of Selkirk-based Border Safeguard, attended the Security Skills Challenge at New College Lanarkshire, where one of his apprentice engineers, Lewis Robertson, attends on day release.

A total of 40 third-year Modern Apprentices took part in the Security Skills Challenge at the Kirkintilloch Campus.

The main atrium was transformed with a row of ten purpose-built competition booths where trainees had to complete a six-hour challenge to install an intruder and CCTV system.

The competition was attended by almost 100 industry specialists, including representatives from the National Security Inspectorate (NSI), who are one of the industry leading bodies.

Alan, who himself made the journey from apprentice to company director, aid: “For us to send Lewis up to Kirkintilloch is a significant commitment, both by the business and Lewis himself, but it is well worth it. He’s not only learning industry essentials but, he’s bringing back to our business things that he’s learning from other engineers too.”

As part of his role with the BSIA, Alan has recently been involved in the reviewing and rewriting of the occupational standards of the SVQ qualification in Installation in Fire and Security Systems for the modern apprenticeship scheme.

The opportunity to observe the competition gave Alan the chance to see the learning in practise.

Noting the challenges faced by the security sector in recruiting and retaining a highly skilled workforce.

Alan added: “We are now a third-generation family business due to celebrate our 40th anniversary in 2019.

"We are a close-knit team of twenty with 25 percent of our staff under the age of 25.

"Over the past 40 years, we have learned the most effective means to ensuring business growth is working with young professionals, teaching them everything they need to know to become highly experienced engineers.

"Our work with those in education will help not only our business but others in the sector too.”