Six Themes of the RES

Theme 1 – Skilled and Ambitious People

Theme 2 Innovation

Our ambition is to build on existing efforts to develop our people and attract new talent to the region to support the success of sectors important to our economy, create and fill the jobs of the future and ensure everyone has the skills, learning and adaptability to thrive throughout their lives. 


  • Enabling access to skills, training & employment
  • Attracting & Retaining People with a Diversity of Skills, Ambition & Knowledge
  • Preparing for the Future of Work
  • Building Lifelong Learning & Opportunity

The actions will build upon work undertaken through partnership since 2019 to develop and deliver a Regional Skills Investment Plan (RSIP) for the South of Scotland. 

This includes:

  • improving access to education, skills and training across the region
  • better meeting the skills needs of employers
  • supporting growth and development of the workforce
  • focusing on supporting education and skills opportunities for young people
  • creating a culture of enterprise and innovation and ensuring that the skills system is ‘future proofed’ to adapt to changing circumstances.

A new South of Scotland Education and Skills Group has been established as a subgroup of the Regional Economic Partnership to take these RSIP activities forward. This group also serves as a key link into national work of relevance to the region and will also deliver the Skilled and Ambitious People actions the Regional Economic Strategy has given rise to. 

Theme 2 – Innovative & Enterprising 

Innovative & Enterprising 2 Trevor Jackson

Our ambition is to strengthen the South of Scotland’s role as a hub for research, innovation and enterprise. We want to work across the private, public and third sectors to boost business and social enterprise start-ups, resolve localised challenges, achieve more for less, drive productivity and attract new investment. 


  • Embracing Research & Innovation
  • Enhancing Business Support Services
  • Activating Networks & Business Interaction
  • Creating Flexible & Accessible Workspaces

We recognise that across the South of Scotland, a great network of organisations supporting businesses, social enterprises and community organisations already exists, all of which provide invaluable expertise, knowledge and experience which complements the public sector offer and which effectively advocate for their needs. Our focus under this theme is to help support, develop and enhance connections between these organisations, from a position of a strong foundation. 

Theme 3 - Rewarding & Fair Work

Rewarding & Fair Work 1 Borders College

Our ambition is to establish an inclusive economy with wellbeing at its heart. 


  • Growing & Diversifying Our Economy
  • Attracting & Securing New Investment
  • Improving Productivity & Competitiveness
  • Securing and Improving Fair Working Conditions & Wages

We will create and invest in employers that offer jobs that generate localised wealth, pay a fair wage, offer decent conditions, flexibility, diversity and long-term career structures for young people. This will lead to employee happiness and contentment, which will ultimately contribute to reducing poverty and deprivation.  
We know from engagement with those businesses and social enterprises already here, that the South of Scotland is a great place to do business – testament to which is their continued investment. We know however that we need to shout louder about this and better promote our offer to attract others – in response to which we are already working harder and more collaboratively than ever before to do so, in parallel to supporting those already here too. 

Theme 4 – Cultural & Creative Excellence 

Cultural & Creative 1 Stella Milsom

Our ambition is to celebrate the region’s globally renowned history of inventions and innovation, traditions, contemporary, digital and emerging creative practices and active lifestyle offer, positioning culture and creative industries as a catalyst for growth, at the heart of our thriving economy. 


  • Celebrating & Enabling Creativity
  • Championing a New Regional Identity
  • Investing in Visitor Economy Infrastructure
  • Boosting Culture & Heritage Assets

This theme builds on our region’s distinct culture and sense of place, shaped by centuries of history, heritage and landmark events. We are a region blessed with a strong and growing base of creative and cultural businesses, social enterprises and organisations, which, with the right support, can make an even more significant contribution to developing the region’s economic, social and environmental ambitions. 

Theme 5 – Green and Sustainable Economy 

Theme Pic

To meet our transitioning to Net Zero emissions goals, improve wellbeing and create new economic opportunity, we will harness the full potential of our natural resources and approach to land use to further improve our quality of life; restore nature; develop our visitor offer; adapt and enhance our resilience to climate change and deliver cleaner energy and greener jobs. 


  • Harnessing & Enhancing Natural Capital
  • Seizing the Economic Opportunity of a Just Transition to Net Zero
  • Improving Efficiency of Homes & Buildings
  • Supporting Community Wealth Building and Growing Regional Supply Chains

Natural capital in relation to land, water, nature, farming, landscape, forestry and woodland is a major strength and opportunity in the South of Scotland. The area is taking forward a Regional Land Use Pilot which will help develop new and innovative, clean rural land management practices and proposals. The region will also benefit from the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal Natural Capital Programme which supports five key pilot projects. In addition, both local authorities have Climate Change Action Plans that they are taking forward; projects will be identified through the Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal Energy Master Plan.  

Theme 6 – Thriving and Distinct Communities 

Peebles 23

Our ambition is to be attractive, competitive and to showcase the best of the region – essential if we are to address population decline. To succeed in this, we need to make the South of Scotland exceptional, emphasising quality of life, connectivity, amenity and vibrant neighbourhoods. 


  • Revitalising Towns and Rural Communities 
  • Creating and Sustaining High Quality, Affordable Homes
  • Enhancing Digital & Transport Connections
  • Activating & Empowering Communities, the Third Sector and Social Enterprise

Vibrant places and communities are vital to the economic, social, cultural and environmental well-being of the South of Scotland. Efforts to support and transform places and communities will include the implementation of the Borderlands Place programme, and the ongoing development of a wide variety of place initiatives being carried out by the local authorities, SOSE, communities, businesses, social enterprises and the Third Sector. 

Regional Economic Strategy
Working together to make the region the best it can be

Our ten-year strategy sets out a clear vision for how we want the region's economy to look and work in the future, which focuses on making the South of Scotland "Green, Fair and Flourishing".