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Euro Cash to Help Re-train Workers

A TRAINING centre is to be established aimed at helping the 150 people who lost their jobs at West Freugh this year find new work.

The idea is to help those who were made redundant take advantage of the large scale construction contracts that are coming to Wigtownshire.

It is also hoped the training will help some establish their own business in the area.

The £65,000 training facility, which is being funded by Scottish Enterprise Dumfries and Galloway after a European Regional Development Fund grant, was this week hailed by local councillors sitting on the West Freugh Action Group.

Stranraer councillor Willie Scobie, who had many constituents made redundant through the downgrading of the air base and missile test range at West Freugh said the development was a "step in the right direction".

He said:

"I am delighted we have got this money, it gives us a chance to move forward."

But he warned "It is alright to retrain people but we have got to find them jobs that give them long term stability."

With contracts for the new Garrick Hospital and the second phase of Stranraer Academy looming it is hoped there will be a construction industry boom in the area.

Many of those paid off at West Freugh have tradesman backgrounds meaning they could be a valuable asset to the construction companies in charge of both projects.

A Scottish Enterprise spokesman said:

"The training centre will concentrate on construction skills in anticipation of the capital projects which are coming to the area.

"Training will be available initially to those being made redundant at the West Freugh site and thereafter to the wider population."

South Rhins councillor Graham Forster, whose ward includes the MoD range, commented:

"This is good news and hopefully it will begin to turn the tide of job losses in Stranraer."

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