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South of Scotland to Benefit from new Digital Skills Hub

A new hub to promote digital skills has been announced by the South of Scotland’s two colleges.



Dumfries and Galloway College and Borders College are set to collaborate to build the Digital Skills Hub, which is set to be launched in early 2022.

The initiative will drive forward efforts to eradicate digital exclusion, create a powerhouse of digital skills in the region, and ensure that employers and other stakeholders have a vast wealth of experience, expertise, and training from which to draw upon for the future.

The Hub will also focus on providing upskilling and retraining for people in the region through increased digital capacity, learning, and training.

Moreover, the Digital Skills Hub will seek to bridge the digital skills gap that exists in the region and provide real routes into fulfilling and exciting careers in technology for students across the digital curriculum.

To ensure maximum collaboration, both colleges are calling on people from across the South of Scotland to get in touch by visiting their website.

Borders College and Dumfries and Galloway College are committed to curating and promoting digital skills across the South of Scotland and to working together to achieve this.

Commenting on the project, Borders College Principal Angela Cox said:

“Our exciting collaboration should have a transformative impact on closing the digital skills gap identified by business and industry.

“Additionally, to fulfil the Hub’s true potential, we are seeking to actively involve and work with our South of Scotland community. Together we can make it happen. Please join our conversation today and get in touch.” 

Dumfries and Galloway College Principal Joanna Campbell added:

DGCollege Joanna-Campbell“We are thrilled to be working with our valued colleagues, friends, and partners at Borders College to promote our new Digital Skills Hub.

“The South of Scotland has the potential to be a beacon of digital skills for Scotland and the United Kingdom and we are committed to helping our beautiful region become exactly that.

“I look forward immensely to working across the sector and with all local stakeholders as we build our Hub and to seeing the positive results that I’m sure will flow from it.”

Young entrepreneurs fear their age hinders them from being taken seriously

For those thinking about opening their own business, it’s time to take the plunge before you hit the big three-oh, according to new research.



The survey of more than 25,000 respondents (age 18–40) across 35 countries asked respondents what age they thought would be easiest to start a business and identified it to be at 28 years old.

For respondents interested in starting a business, 51% worry they won’t be taken seriously because of their age — but they also see their youth as a positive.

In fact, half of global entrepreneurial hopefuls said their age would help their chances of success.

When asked why, six in 10 (61%) said they’re better at adapting to new technology than other generations, and 43% said they’re more likely to have fresh, unexplored ideas.

Commissioned by Herbalife Nutrition and conducted by OnePoll, the survey also found 29% of those who want to open a business said they’re “less afraid to fail” than other generations.

Seventy-four percent of respondents have dreams of becoming an entrepreneur, with 16% of those saying they already own a business.


Of those interested in entrepreneurship, “becoming my own boss” was found to be the top motivating factor (48%), followed by the ability to follow their passion (44%).

For the 2,000 Americans who participated in the survey, those answers were the same, although in slightly lower percentages (38% and 35%, respectively).

More than three in 10 global respondents said they were looking to support their family (37%) or wanted more flexibility in their job (32%).

Results found 31% look toward entrepreneurship as the opportunity for a career change, while 26% were looking to supplement their income after their job hours were reduced — for many, likely a result of the ongoing pandemic.

For those who have been employed previously, who are now interested in entrepreneurship, 60% said one of the reasons was because they’re tired of being told “no” by older employees and managers.

The same number (60%) didn’t feel like their ideas were taken into account in previous roles.

“If working with entrepreneurs over the past 41 years has taught us anything, it’s that regardless of your age, the difference between success and failure is often good business fundamentals, the willingness to learn, adapt and work hard, and a passion for your work,” said John DeSimone, president of Herbalife Nutrition. “There’s no time like the present.”

But a desire for entrepreneurship doesn’t mean respondents are jumping into it: the average respondent said they believe someone should have five and a half years of experience before starting their own business.

Americans were a bit more cautious: they’d wait an extra year and a half before recommending someone start their own business (with about seven years of experience).

And many expect to face challenges along the way. Top challenges that global entrepreneurs faced included earning enough to offset costs (35%) adapting to the pandemic (35%) and making sales/getting customers (35%).

Results also found that 63% believe their generation faces unique challenges when starting a business, compared to older generations.

“As young entrepreneurs learn how to manage the daily rigors of starting their own business, it’s imperative to surround themselves with a supportive community including mentors and those who will continuously push them to the next level,” DeSimone added.


  1. Becoming their own boss                                                               48%
  2. Following their passion                                                                   44%
  3. Supporting their family                                                                    37%
  4. Wanting more flexibility in their job                                                32%
  5. Wanting a career change                                                               31%
  6. Finding ways to supplement income from reduced job hours       26%
  7. Having more spare time from reduced job hours                           22%
  8. Solving a problem/improving the world                                          19%
  9. Unhappy in their current job                                                           15%
  10. Tired of living at home with their parents/family                             10%


  1. Better at adapting to new technology                                             61%
  2. More likely to embrace new technology                                         46%
  3. Have fresh, unexplored ideas                                                        43%
  4. More resources are available now than for previous generations 35%
  5. Less afraid to fail                                                                            29%

Destination Stranraer as Gateway to Galloway Hub Opens

Stranraer’s ambition to redefine itself as a waterfront destination is set to receive a boost this week with the opening of Gateway to Galloway; a community-led visitor information centre and community hub based at Stranraer Harbour.

Gateway_to_Galloway_Building.jpgDeveloped by community organisation, Stranraer Development Trust, Gateway to Galloway is the culmination of three years of planning for the group, as they take over the striking art deco clock tower and former harbour master building, recently refurbished by Dumfries and Galloway Council.

The goal of Gateway to Galloway is to establish a tourism focal point for visitors to the town which will showcase the wealth of things to do and experience in Stranraer and the wider Galloway area.  The information centre will also promote local businesses, produce and crafts; as well as providing volunteering opportunities and space for community groups to showcase their activities.

It is hoped that Gateway to Galloway will replicate the success of Stranraer Oyster Festival, also organised by Stranraer Development Trust, in putting Stranraer on the map as one of Scotland’s up and coming destinations.

Romano Petrucci, Chair of Stranraer Development Trust, said:

“The purpose of Gateway to Galloway is to let people know what we have in this area, not necessarily to tell people the fastest way to get to Glasgow or the Lake District, but to promote the amazing things we have in Galloway and encourage them to spend time here. To explore Port Logan and Portpatrick, to visit Whithorn and Wigtown, to be amazed by the Mull of Galloway and to spend time enjoying Stranraer itself.

“When it was announced that the former Tourist Information Centre was to close a few years ago, just as the community was committing to developing tourism, it was the last thing we wanted to hear.  At the time we had just held our hugely successful first Oyster Festival, we knew we needed a tourism hub for Stranraer, and we spent a lot of time looking at other examples of community-run information centres.

“We are really serious about promoting this area, and we’ve gone to great lengths to secure a stunning building with the assistance of our local council to help make that happen. What an incredible thing it is for the Development Trust to now be based in the marina overlooking the native oyster beds, watching our dream expand to include all things relating to local tourism.

“Gateway to Galloway will be for the people of our community as much as for those who visit our town. We are really excited at the number of local businesses that Gateway to Galloway can support and promote, there is just so much going on, and we are astonished at the abundance of quality that there is here. Our job is to inspire every visitor to Stranraer to see all the incredible things there are to do, to return and to encourage their friends and family to visit too.


On a day to day basis, Gateway to Galloway will be run by Vanessa Gracie and Amanda Horberry

Vanessa_Gracie_and_Amanda_Horberry.jpgVanessa said:

“We have been enjoying getting everything set up and creating content for visitors and locals. It has been a great chance to network with our local community and we hope to continue this in the future. One of the things we’re keen to do is work with local businesses and artists, to increase our range of local arts, crafts and local produce.  We already have some fantastic work for sale by Galloway businesses such as Curlytale Books, Zany Zoo, Molten Fire and Studio 17 and we’re keen to expand our range to provide a window onto the work of the people of Galloway.“ 

Amanda commented:

“There has been a buzz already about town, with people wanting to know when we are opening, what we can offer and for some how they can be part of this. We would love our community to be part of Gateway to Galloway, so if there are members of the community who may wish to share their knowledge and skills by volunteering their time assisting in the hub, please pop in or get in touch.”

Douglas McMillan of McMillan Hotels said Gateway to Galloway will be important in establishing Stranraer as a destination, particularly when international tourism returns.  He commented:

“I see it as a focal point for marketing and information, of the Rhins in particular. This facility helps to establish Stranraer as a serious destination that can help our town meet the needs of visitors as our tourism reputation grows.

“If we are able to attract even just a fraction of the volume of visitors going through the north channel route ferries, and encourage them to spend a few days exploring the local area, then that would transform Galloway’s visitor economy.  When the travel trade returns we hope to get Stranraer established on itineraries as a place to stop, and we’ll be encouraging operators to draw up itineraries through Dumfries & Galloway before heading on the boat.

“This is obviously an unusual year in terms of tourism, but in the longer term we are looking to do a great deal with the Gateway to Galloway hub, like offering guide-led town tours, taking people up through the historic sites and round the town trail. 

“Gateway to Galloway is about amplifying our tourism offer, inspiring visitors to make the most of our local area and encouraging them to linger and to spend their time and their money in our communities. The important thing is that we now have the facilities in place so that we can hit the ground running for Stranraer when international tourism opens back up.”

Gateway to Galloway is launching on Friday 2nd July with a drop in for local businesses, between 10am and 2pm.

Return of Doonhame is Good News For Festival Goers

Last week the Doonhame Festival received the long-awaited news from the First Minister’s announcement, confirming no change to their capacity and meeting government requirements.

The boutique festival, featuring headliners including Kaiser Chiefs, The Feeling, Bad Manners and Skerryvore are excited to make their return on the 30th July, for the 2-day music festival. Held within the charming church grounds of The Crichton in Dumfries and Galloway, the festival is sponsored by local company MKM Timber and supported by local authorities and EventScotland, part of VisitScotland.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events for VisitScotland: “We are proud to support Doonhame Festival through Scotland’s Events Recovery Fund, and very much welcome the return of live events this summer. This festival will provide a host of economic, social, and cultural benefits to the area. With its stellar line-up of artists and bands, festival goers will be in for a long-awaited, and real musical feast.”

With 4 stages of great music, high-quality food village, licensed bar, and camping options, the Doonhame Festival is the perfect way to enjoy a safe, music-filled weekend this summer.

The festival offers on-site camping, which are limited to allow for sufficient space between pitches, adhering to the COVID-19 Policy; there is also a Holiday Inn within the festival grounds.

The festival will take place in a spacious, open air environment and there will be sanitising stations and crowd management measures in place. The capacity of the festival has been reduced to ensure there is ample space to keep a safe distance from others, but without compromising on the overall festival experience.

Sandy Sweetman, Joint Festival Director said, “We received the best possible news for Doonhame Festival. We can now confidently go ahead as planned with the festival on the 30th and 31st of July at The Crichton. It’s been a rollercoaster ride behind the scenes anticipating the position we may be in. We now have a clear path! Thank you for your support and look forward to welcoming you to the festival!”

Kaiser Chiefs’ Simon Rix added: “We are excited to be headlining the Doonhame Festival in Dumfries this year. Playing to our fans in Scotland is always a highlight for us and we look forward to seeing them all in July”.

Kaiser Chiefs, The Feeling, Bad Manners, Skerryvore, Toploader, Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5, Franky’s Evil Party, The Lutras, Tiderays, The Meanies, I Am A Raver, Ibiza Mania, and over 40 other acts have all confirmed their availability to perform in July, as well as many more talented local artists.

Colonel Mustard and the Dijon 5’s John McMustard added: "We cannot wait to get down to Doonhame Festival. The crowds are brilliant in Dumfries and Galloway, and I think we all deserve a festival there. The line-up is fantastic with some big names and acts that will have us all dancing and partying."

Doonhame Kids is taking place on the festival site on Sunday 1st August, to give kids a festival experience too. This will feature live performances from tribute acts including Little Mix, Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande.

Tickets are available to purchase on the Doonhame Festival website ( Tier 2 Weekend Tickets are currently available. Adult Weekend Ticket (£90); Youth Weekend Ticket 12-17 years old (£75); Child Weekend Ticket 5-11 years old (£35); Under 5 Weekend Ticket (£10); Family Weekend Ticket - 2 Adults and 2 Children, any age under 12 (£210). Add weekend camping at £25. Doonhame Kids tickets are available at £10.

Rural Scotland to See Biggest Boost in 4G Coverage As Part of Move Connect The Union


People in rural Scotland will enjoy the biggest uplifts in mobile coverage under the UK government’s world-first £1 billion programme to level up digital connectivity across the UK. 

The Shared Rural Network (SRN) will see EE, O2, Three and Vodafone build and upgrade phone masts to end so-called partial not-spots: areas where only some, but not all, mobile network operators (MNOs) provide 4G coverage. These not spots mean local people cannot connect unless they are signed up with a provider who has coverage in the area.


This scheme is a major part of the government's plan to level up all parts of the UK and will bring economic and social benefits for people no matter where they live. 


It will help those who live and work in rural communities enjoy the benefits of improved connectivity and seize the benefits of technology, such as using a 4G phone signal for work video calls as well as shopping and streaming TV shows online on the go.


New maps and figures published today show Scotland will benefit the most from the SRN. Coverage from all four MNOs to be delivered to three quarters (74 per cent) of Scotland’s landmass. This is an increase of a third and up from 42 per cent currently.


The deal will see 4G coverage from at least one operator reach more than 91 per cent of every electoral region in Scotland. 


The Highlands and Islands will see the largest uptick in coverage with a 42 per cent rise in areas with coverage from all four operators - the largest increase seen anywhere in the UK and bringing coverage from all four MNOs to 68 per cent. 4G coverage from at least one MNO will reach 91 per cent of the region’s landmass.


Regions with higher proportions of rural areas benefit the most. Areas with coverage from all four operators will dial up by 26 per cent in South Scotland, 23 per cent in West Scotland and 20 per cent in North East Scotland.


UK Government Digital Infrastructure Minister Matt Warman said:


“In today’s interconnected world, access to fast and reliable mobile coverage is not a privilege but a necessity, so I am delighted that our plans will bring a huge uplift in connectivity to many rural areas in Scotland. 


“This will bring new opportunities to work remotely, improve people’s ability to stay in touch with family and friends, and stream entertainment on the go.


“Once the network is built, no government will have done more to amplify 4G coverage in Scotland. It demonstrates loud and clear how our plan to build back better is delivering for every part of the UK, no matter how rural or isolated.”


UK Government Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart said:


“From Dumfries and Galloway to the Highlands, and from Skye to Shetland, this UK Government investment will improve access to fast, reliable 4G coverage for people in every corner of Scotland.


“The UK Government is working hard to level up digital connectivity, ensuring that people and businesses right across the country can enjoy the social and economic benefits of next-generation broadband and mobile coverage.”


The news has been welcomed by Dumfriesshire MP David Mundell and MSP Oliver Mundell, who have been long-term campaigners for better mobile signals locally. 

David Mundell MP said: 

“There have been many false dawns when it comes to boosting mobile coverage locally, and we must certainly hope that this new agreement is the breakthrough we all want to see. 

“There’s no doubt that a lack of adequate mobile coverage is a huge issue for many people across rural Dumfriesshire and that’s why Oliver and I have campaigned strongly over many years for the improvements needed. 

“Under the existing arrangements, just 55% of the South of Scotland gets mobile coverage from all of the country’s mobile network operators, with 88% getting coverage from only a single provider.  It is expected that under the new Shared Rural Network, those coverage figures could rise to see 81% of our area being covered by all the main providers, and 97% of Dumfriesshire getting a signal from at least one operator. 

“Given the long-running nature of this issue, I know many local people will rightly only believe it when they see it, and I share that cautious view.  Having said that, the fact that such an ambitious programme is being put in place, backed up by very significant investment, can only be good news and will hopefully begin to close the ‘digital divide’ which has disadvantaged so many people locally for far too long.” 


Oliver Mundell MSP said: 

“Digital connectivity is still a big challenge for many rural areas and that’s certainly the case here in Dumfriesshire.  Getting a decent mobile signal, and also a good broadband connection and speed, is critical, both for the economic prosperity of our communities and also the wellbeing of individuals and families. 

“The current situation which leaves many local people in more remote areas with at best no choice between providers, and in too many instances, no signal at all, is clearly unacceptable and I have made repeated representations on this to Ministers at both Westminster and Holyrood.   

“I know just how frustrating it is for local people to have to contend with a far inferior service to others living in central belt Scotland, and it’s why the news this week of the setting up of a Shared Rural Network is a welcome step forward.  We must all hope that it delivers on its expectations and in so doing boost the standard of mobile connectivity across rural Dumfriesshire and the South of Scotland more generally.  My father and I will be monitoring the rollout of the SRN scheme closely and will continue to make strong representations on the related issue of poor broadband speeds, which also need to be addressed with the same urgency.” 


The SRN, brokered by ministers in March last year, will bring an additional 280,000 premises and an additional 16,000 km of UK roads in range of a 4G signal - increasing total geographic 4G coverage to 95 per cent of the UK by 2025. 


This year the SRN programme has also kicked off work to end ‘total not spots’ - areas which have no coverage from any operator. It has begun searching for, acquiring and building publicly funded masts to be shared between all four MNOs.


The government has today launched a consultation with the telecoms industry to identify any existing infrastructure which can be utilised to end total not spots. It wants to reduce the need to build new phone masts and help make sure public funds are used effectively.


The focus of the consultation is in Scotland where the majority of coverage improvements will take place and which will need significantly more infrastructure compared to other home nations.


In a further boost to connectivity in Scotland, the Scottish Government has confirmed it can continue to provide up to £5,000 extra funding to top-up the Gigabit Broadband Voucher Scheme. This is in addition to the £1,500 available to rural homes and £3,500 available to rural small to medium-sized businesses.


The UK Government continues to actively work with the Scottish Government on gigabit deployment through their Reaching 100% (R100) programme. The scope of the final R100 contract will be confirmed in the Summer.