Almost £300,000 will be invested in the south of Scotland economy as part of a drive to support economic growth across the region.
On a visit to Dumfries, Public Finances Minister Kate Forbes announced £156,600 to improve access to rural skills and entrepreneurship programmes in the south of Scotland, while £120,000 will support feasibility work for local economic development projects across the region.
Ms Forbes is in Dumfries to visit three companies who are leading the way in manufacturing and digital innovation across the south of Scotland.
Ms Forbes said:
“The Scottish Government is committed to driving inclusive growth across the south of Scotland.
“These projects will improve access to skills and training, support entrepreneurship and help us evaluate the potential of a range of local projects to make a strong contribution to the regional economy.
“We established the South of Scotland Economic Partnership to ensure the area can benefit from a fresh approach to economic development as early as possible while we establish South of Scotland Enterprise. A further £13.3 million has been allocated in the 2019-20 Scottish Budget to continue this important work, alongside the development of South of Scotland Enterprise.”
Professor Russel Griggs OBE, chair of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, said:
“These two projects continue two of the key themes that SOSEP has been following – namely to encourage people to stay in the area through job and training opportunities as well as allowing us to be flexible and speedy to situations as they arise.
“The more we can support projects to bring new growth to the area the better, so I’m pleased to see more good proposals coming through to us for funding all the time.”
The £156,600 investment will address gaps in the accessibility and availability of rural (forestry, agriculture and horticulture) training across the south of Scotland to build the skills needed by local employers, and encourage more young people to consider land based careers . Led by the Scottish Funding Council and delivered by SRUC, it consists of:
• The provision of two mobile learning centres that will be equipped to deliver rural skills courses in locations across the region
• The development of online learning materials based on industry needs to support and enable the delivery of rural skills
The £120,000 will support feasibility studies that will assist the development of proposals for projects that can then be formally considered for potential SOSEP support. The process will also help build capacity of local organisations in the design and delivery of enterprise activities that support economic growth and local communities. We are in the process of agreeing the details of the projects and activities to be supported with the organisations concerned.
During her visit to Dumfries, Ms Forbes is visiting:
• Natural Power, a renewable energy company, Castle Douglas
• Cream o’Galloway and Finlays Farm, Castle Douglas
• Io360, a digital technology firm who specialise in cutting edge 3D display device, Castle Douglas