John F McClelland CBE, Chair of Skills Development Scotland
(SDS) made the comments as he pledged backing for the new approach
to economic development in the region during a meeting of the SDS
Board at Spark Energy in Selkirk.
SDS is part of the new South of Scotland Economic Partnership,
aimed at boosting economic performance and paving the way for a
dedicated enterprise agency for the region.
The partnership's Chair Professor Russel Griggs OBE joined the
Board meeting to outline plans for the new agency.
SDS Chair Mr McClelland said: "It was inspiring to hear the
initial plans for the new partnership outlined by Professor
"It is clear we can look forward to deeper collaborative working
and enable the region to seize opportunities to build on the
region's economic assets.
"We are committed to supporting the success of the new
"It will allow us to work more closely with partners to assess
skills needs and for the first time produce and deliver against a
regional skills investment plan for the South of Scotland."
Professor Griggs said: "The partnership offers an opportunity
for greater collaboration and closer working across all
"We know there are economic challenges facing the region, but
also opportunities and a great number of strengths to build on.
"The partnership features a wealth of support from the public
and private sector, from education and the third sector - all
focused on creating more opportunities and regional success."
Recent results show that more than 1200 young people benefited
from apprenticeships across the south of Scotland last year.
There were 753 new Modern Apprenticeship starts in Dumfries and
Galloway and 472 in the Scottish Borders.
Last year SDS careers advisers supported more than 13,300 young
people in the south of Scotland with more than 30,000 career
information, advice and guidance sessions.
Source - Skills Development Scotland