Textile Scotland attended the official opening of The Centre of Excellence in Textiles in Hawick earlier this month, with Fergus Ewing, the Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy. The centre, based in Hawick High School, has been developed to help address business critical skills issues in the textiles and knitwear sector in the Scottish Borders.
The first trainees are learning about hand finishing and machine skills to support skills demand for local textiles businesses. The growth and capacity of businesses has been curtailed by access to a skilled workforce as demand for Scottish Textiles worldwide increases.
The project is supported by a £610,000 government grant and championed by Skills Development Scotland. By working closely, the project partners and industry representatives want to ensure that the training provided through the Centre of Excellence is absolutely focused on delivering what the businesses need and provide apprenticeship opportunities to help people get long term employment within this growing sector.
Clive Brown, sales director of Hawick-based Barrie Knitwear, which is supporting and assisting training alongside Johnstons of Elgin, said: “The industry as a whole in the Scottish Borders is right behind this project, which will help provide school leavers and the unemployed with the basic skills across a range of areas to help them get jobs in the sector, as well as support existing employees with developing their skills further, including in leadership and management.
“Knitwear and textiles have moved on significantly in recent years and many of the businesses in the Scottish Borders are growing and need to bring new people into the industry. This is a fantastic opportunity for people to take the first step towards an exciting new career.”
Following the official opening, Fergus Ewing had a closed meeting with textile industry heads, Textile Scotland and Scottish Enterprise to hear their global aspirations and address their concerns for the textile sector.
Textile Scotland, part of UKFT, is currently developing a Scottish manufacturing skills strategy to support the wider textile industry in achieving their skilled workforce ambitions.
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