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50 Years Training Candidates to National Standards

Border Engineering Training Association has reached its 50th birthday having trained over 1000 candidates to national standards. BETA celebrated this by holding a Golden anniversary dinner at Borders College where they invited member organisations and guests to attend this very special event. Border college students working towards achieving their SVQ level 2 and level 3 qualifications prepared and served the meal under the supervision of their lectures. The event was enjoyed by all who attended. The attendees were told a little about BETA's history over the last 50 year before we all enjoyed an excellent 5 course dinner. Below are photos of the event and a short potted history of BETA.

College restaurent guests
guests guests
guests College students and staff

Anniversary Cake


BETA 50 years in training

It all started back in 1967 when a few Border companies decided to look into starting up a group training association. They decided to ask the EITB (Engineering Industrial Training board) to invite engineeering employers to a meeting to discuss the formation of a group training scheme. This first meeting between 11 local companies and the EITB took place on 19th May 1967 held at Waverly Castle Hotel, Melrose. companies in attendance were:

  1.   Aimers McLean & Co Ltd
  2.   BEPI (Electronics) Ltd
  3.   BEPI (Precision) Ltd
  4.   D.M. Wallace & Sons Ltd
  5.   Exacta Circuits Ltd
  6.   G.S. Woodcock
  7.   Mark Goodson Ltd
  8.   The Robertson Bakery Engineering & Co.
  9.   Turnbull & Scott Ltd
  10.  Morrison & Murray Ltd
  11.  The L. S. Starrett Co. Ltd

From the above meeting a steering committee was appointed on the 30th May 1967 to examine and report on the practicability of setting up a group training scheme in the Scottish Borders. The Steering committee appointed were:

Mr. G.S. Woodcock               G. S. Woodcock & Co. Ltd
Mr. J. D. Noble                    Aimers-Mclean Ltd
Mr. W. T. Wallace                D. M. Wallace & Co Ltd

This steering committte was tasked to visit and obtain background information on procedures for setting up a group training scheme and the associated running costs. The committee visited two group training schemes:

North Lanark training group; (Mr. harris training officer) which was now 3 years old at this point in time and had its own training facilities.

Hamilton training group; (Mr. hood chairman) had just started and was using local technical college.

A second invitation was sent out to the engineering employers from the EITB to discuss further the formation of group training scheme. The meeting was held on the 5th October 1967 at The Dryburgh Abbey Hotel, St Boswells, with 10 of the above companies attending; apologies were received from Mark Goodson of Mark Goodson Ltd.

The main thrust of this meeting was for the steering committee to report back their findings and for a discussion to take place on those findings and decide whether or not to set up a Border group training scheme. The decision to form BETA was passed and the first executive committee was chosen those being:

Mr. G. S. Woodcock (Chairman)
Mr. W. T. Wallace
Mr. J. D. Noble

The 13th October 1967 saw the process well under way with the appointment a group training officer. 12 applicants were received for this post and the first appointed group training officer was Mr. James Cramb who started on 15th January 1968.

Things were now having to move quickly and on 25th October 1967 a meeting took place of all the companies taking part in the proposed group scheme for engineering training. This took place in the conference room, Government buildings, Market street Galashiels. The agenda at this meeting was:

  1. Apologies
  2. Chairman’s remarks
  3. Appointment of honorary secretary and treasurer
  4. Consideration of draft constitution
  5. Consideration of recommendations
  6. Assessment of total number of trainees
  7. Any further business

Mr. J. D. Noble was appointed secretary & treasurer of BETA

11 companies had signed up to the group training scheme and it was estimated that 54 apprentices would start in 1968. In fact 10 companies put forward trainees for first year off the job training, totalling 20 places. Mark Goodson Ltd was not one of those firms hence was not counted as a founder member.

On the 29th January 1968 Armstrong Watson Chartered accountants accepted the appointmnent of being BETA’s Auditors.

The first office for BETA was rented and was located at Ravelston, Balmoral place, Galashiels, a former surgery. This was only to be temporary. By the end of March that year (1968) BETA had moved into its own constructed offices at Huddersfield street, Galashiels.

During this time at Huddersfield two more training officers took post a Mr. Derek William Anderson followed by Major P. J. Stroud who looked after training for the various organisation that joined BETA over this period of time.

On leaving BETA Major Stroud wrote a paper on the duties of the training officer and suggested that the training officers should take over all duties thus when Mr. Carlo Frankitti took charge in 1978 his role had change from the previous training officers

BETA stayed at hudderfield until May 1999 when they moved to where we are now; Bank House Tweedside road, New town St. Boswells. Up until that point BETA had trained over 1000 trainees in approved qualifications (average of 31 new starts per year). Since 1999 we have taken on 164 starts (approximate average of 10 starts per year). Considering what has happened over the last 17 years this is fairly good.

In May 2007 Mr. David Miller arrived to take over from Carlo. A lot of changes took place after 2007 bringing BETA into the 21st centure. BETA introduced its own wedsite, Facebook account & twitter account.

More recently BETA has developed its own Virtual Learning Environemnt (VLE) based on the Moodle platform. The VLE has learning objects on it to help apprentices with their SVQ level 2 and 3 qualifications. Both lecturers and BETA’s assessors have access to this. Templates and forms also exist on this VLE to help with portfolio building. Currently BETA is actively working with 15 firms who have apprentices in training with a further 6 firms who may consider taking on apprentices depending on what happens over this next period.