BORDERS students are among the first in the country to gain a 'Higher' in enterprise.

Six pupils from Earlston High School completed Young Enterprise Scotland's 'Company Programme', despite the challenges posed by lockdown.

Chloe Harper said: "I have gained confidence and communication skills that I did not have before."

The Level 6 qualification is the equivalent of a Higher.

The six Earlston students worked on the GR02 project, which provided "succulent plants potted in recycled glass jars and decorated for the season."

GR02 was originally made up of seven students, but one chose not to complete the extra two units required for the 'Higher' qualification.

The programme, also taught at Berwickshire High School, asked the young people to create their own brand and develop a product.

But they also had to show knowledge of the financial and marketing aspects of running a business.

Despite lockdown limiting students' access to their usual resources, they were able to speak with their tutors and advisers to achieve their results.

YES chief executive Geoff Leask congratulated everyone who took part.

He said: "This is the first year that students participating in our Company Programme could achieve a ‘Higher’ equivalent qualification and credit points for their hard work and I applaud everyone who took part.

"As it turned out, they could not have faced a more challenging set of circumstances and yet their commitment and resilience during the coronavirus lockdown has paid off.

"These students can justifiably call themselves leaders as the first to hold the new qualification."

Two other programme teams from Earlston High completed their tasks successfully.

Housweet made "luxury gingerbread houses", while Custom Acrylic designed "bespoke acrylic block signs made in the Scottish Borders".

Hannah Hutchison from Housweet said: "YES has been challenging and taught me about perseverance, team-working and time management."

And Custom Acrylic's Lewis Anderson added: "YES has been challenging but has taught us how to work as a team, build our confidence to speak publicly and work through any challenges we faced."

The YES Company Programme was taught at 45 schools in 14 regions in Scotland, with a total of 230 students gaining the Level 6 qualification.