Better access to learning

Published: 12 Feb 2020 00:01

Digital hubs launched across South of Scotland.

A £6.7 million digital network will improve access to training for students from across the South of Scotland.

The Skills and Learning Network is a partnership between Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Colleges, funded by the Scottish Government through the South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP).

The network will use a ‘hub and spoke’ approach to extend access to quality training and learning opportunities across the region. Hubs focused on Care, Renewable Energy, Construction and Engineering will be based at college campuses in Dumfries, Galashiels, Stranraer and Hawick, allowing students to participate in classes online.

Spokes will be located in high schools, community facilities and business premises enabling more students to participate in learning opportunities across the region.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney will launch the network at Dumfries and Galloway College and Minister for Business and Skills, Jamie Hepburn, will open the hub at Borders College in Galashiels.

Mr Swinney said:

“The South of Scotland Skills and Learning Network will broaden access to teaching for students and learners of all ages right across the region.

“With a clear focus on areas that have growing regional job opportunities, the ability to develop key skills without having to relocate will provide so many more people with an excellent start to their careers, or the chance to retrain to branch out into new areas .

“Today marks the launch of the network and I look forward to seeing how the colleges develop the technological platform that has been created here to its fullest potential.

“The Scottish Government has now approved funding for 30 SOSEP projects. Alongside the South of Scotland Enterprise agency which will launch on 1 April, the work of SOSEP will help us maximise the full economic potential of the south.”


The Skills and Learning Network aims to meet the needs of local industry and the wider regional economy by addressing skills gaps in key sectors. The digital centres will house three STEM Hubs for priority areas – renewable energy and engineering (including engineering with food and drink industry), care and construction. 

  • care– based in Dumfries and Galashiels
  • renewable energy and engineering – based in Dumfries
  • construction – based in Hawick
  • engineering – based in Stranraer

A series of digital spokes are planned in schools, community venues and business premises to improve the reach of the network across the region. This will provide access for school and college students and for employers wishing to try the latest technologies or upskill their workforce. A partnership with Digiskill Scotland will enable the two colleges to grow their online flexible learning provision over the next five years.

The network is a collaboration between SOSEP, Dumfries and Galloway College, Scottish Borders College, and the Scottish Funding Council.