Scottish Borders Council

Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: The Assembly Hall, Eyemouth High School, Eyemouth

Contact: Pauline Bolson Tel: 01835 826503  Email:

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


The Vice-Chairman, Councillor Laing welcomed everyone to the meeting of the Berwickshire Area Partnership and thanked the Community Councils, Partners and local organisations for their attendance.  Councillor Laing explained that the first theme for discussion was Our Economy, Skills and Learning and introduced Bryan McGrath, Head of Economic Development and Environment and Kevin McCall, Senior Lead Officer Education and Lifelong Learning who would provide some background and further information about economy, skills and learning across the Scottish Borders.



Feedback from meeting on 1 February 2018 pdf icon PDF 346 KB

(Copy of Minute attached.)

Additional documents:


The Minute of the first meeting of the Berwickshire Area Partnership held on 1 February 2018 had been circulated along with a summary of the discussion attached as an appendix to the Minute.  The Communities and Partnership Manager, Ms Smith referred to the general concerns, issues, challenges and opportunities raised at that meeting.  The theme identified as the first priority for further detailed discussion was Our Economy Skills and Learning and this would therefore be the focal point for consideration at this evening’s meeting.



Theme: Our Economy, Skills and Learning

A facilitated discussion on the subject in order to put forward a set of initial outcome(s) for Berwickshire - further information on local data and statistics.



3.1         Head of Economic Development and Environment, Bryan McGrath, provided an introduction to the theme for the evening and gave some background as to the challenges and opportunities businesses were identifying both currently and for the future.  These included: ensuring that young people were equipped with the required skills for the future; digital connectivity and mobile signal provision; availability of modern business properties; non-domestic rates; and Brexit.  Tourism provided many opportunities and challenges and in Berwickshire, there was also a high reliance on agriculture and fishing which would be challenging for the future.  Kevin McCall, Senior Lead Officer Education and Lifelong Learning, talked about the importance of developing excellent core skills and employability in young people and suggested that aptitude and a positive attitude were an important consideration for employers.  Mr McCall referred to the different ways in which people could upskill and highlighted vocational routes that young people could follow, eg modern apprenticeships, which were an alternative to academic qualifications.  The main employment growth areas at the current time were in tourism, hospitality and the care sector.  Other points raised were the substantial number of small businesses (and therefore the associated challenges) across the Scottish Borders and the number of people in the over 50 years age group living in the area.


3.2       Following input from Mr McGrath and Mr McCall, Elected Members, officers, partners and members of the public took forward a discussion about the key challenges and main priorities relating to “Our Economy Skills and Learning” in the Berwickshire area.  An information pack was available at each table to support these conversations and the issues were logged on post-it notes.  A second discussion then followed, allowing each group to focus on the main issues that had been highlighted earlier and to examine options and identify ways in which these issues could be taken forward in Berwickshire.  The Appendix to this Minute contained a summary of the output of the discussions.




Next meeting

Venue and time to be discussed.



The next meeting of the Berwickshire Area Partnership was scheduled for Thursday 7 June 2018.  Ms Smith referred to the previous meeting when those present were invited to suggest ways in which these Partnership meetings could be made more inclusive for all members of the community and advised that feedback would be taken into account when setting the time and venue for the meeting in June.  Details would therefore be confirmed in due course.  The Chairman thanked those present for their attendance and wished everyone a safe journey home.




Scottish Borders Council

Council Headquarters Newtown St. Boswells Melrose TD6 0SA

Tel: 0300 100 1800


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