Scottish Conservative MSP for South Scotland Michelle Ballantyne paid a visit to the St Boswells-based agricultural engineering business G. Marshall Tractors on Friday to celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week.
Established in 1977 by George Marshall, the business has been going from strength to strength in recent years and continues to offer apprenticeship opportunities for school leavers. The scheme allows successful apprentices to become highly skilled agricultural engineers and offers the potential for a prosperous career for those who show an aptitude for the work.
The South of Scotland MSP met with two of the Borders firm’s latest apprentices; Logan who is in his first year with the company, and Duncan, in his second.
Mrs Ballantyne discussed with them what changes, if any, they would like to see to the apprenticeship scheme. Both young men agreed that a wider range of opportunities should be introduced to children while they are still at school so that they can fully understand the range of career options available to them.
Agricultural engineering is an expanding sector in need of a larger workforce. Forming an essential part of the rural economy, it is essential that programmes such as apprenticeships are available to provide youngsters with the necessary skills to access the industry.
Commenting on the visit Michelle Ballantyne said:
“I was delighted to visit the G. Marshall Tractors in Melrose. The firm is doing tremendously well in the Borders and it is great to see young apprentices, new to the business so enthusiastic about their futures.
“The opportunities that apprenticeships can offer are fantastic. I’d like to see more young people pursuing apprenticeships and gaining the skills they really need for the careers they really want.
“Industries such as agricultural engineering are essential to the Borders economy and we need more young people like to take up apprenticeships in these areas. University isn’t the only route to a successful career and I am glad to see some of our school leavers exploring alternative options.
“I would like to wish everyone at the firm the best for the future, as well Logan and Duncan, who I hope will go on to enjoy excellent careers with G. Marshall Tractors.”