Borders builders send entire staff on industry safety course


A SCOTTISH building firm has sent almost its entire workforce on an industry safety course.

Borders firm M&J Ballantyne has sent 40 staff – around 95% of its workforce – on the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS).

Michael Ballantyne: Course was hugely beneficial for workforce

The scheme is designed to improve the quality of work and reduce the risk of on-site accidents.

Michael Ballantyne, managing director of the Kelso-based company, said: “We always strive to give our staff the best training and qualifications, so that they can provide the best service for our customers.

He added: “The CSCS is the standard for safety in the construction industry, so it was important to ensure that all of our apprentices and other staff got the opportunity to complete it.

“We had 40 workers who either hadn’t done any CSCS training before or needed to renew their qualifications, so we decided it was easier to send them all away to do the course at the same time rather than one by one.”

Mr Ballantyne said many firms limit the number of staff they train to one at a time.

“They think it will negatively affect their business otherwise,” he said. “However, we wanted to make sure that all of our staff are equally qualified and competent when it comes to safety – even if it meant sending almost all of our entire workforce away on the same training course.

“It was a big commitment and investment, but having a full workforce of CSCS-accredited staff will be hugely beneficial for our business.”

M&J Ballantyne has provided construction and building work in the region for the past 75 years.

Over the past eight decades, the firm has built and refurbished major buildings including the Bernat Klein Studio near Selkirk, Melrose Grammar School, and Kelso swimming pool.

Its most recent project was completing the £4.7m restoration of the Old Granary building in Berwick.

The work transformed the dilapidated premises into a new youth hostel, exhibition space and bistro.

The restoration, part of a wider 20 year plan to transform Berwick, has been heralded by heritage and preservation groups in the Borders and Northumberland.