Scottish Textile News
The UK has a productivity problem – and we know from research into Britain’s economic performance in the decade prior to the recession that this problem is long-term and entrenched. In fact, we were already experiencing a productivity problem in 2007.
In its international benchmarking study, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) found that the UK’s science and innovation system is let down by gaps in its talent base. As well as low basic skills (numeracy, literacy, ICT), the report highlighted a problem of insufficient STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) talent to exploit potential innovations.
To help address this, successive British governments have focused on plugging these gaps by trying to grow STEM skills in the workforce. Crucially the value of STEM jobs is supported by evidence that they enhance growth, and are high productivity jobs. Consistent with this, there is a high wage premium for STE (Science, Technology and Engineering) jobs in particular: workers in these occupations tend to earn around 19 per cent more than their non-STE counterparts . STEM jobs therefore have an important role to play in addressing the productivity problem, since they make a disproportionate contribution to GVA.
A new report for Nesta produced by researchers at Sussex University suggests this might be the case. In particular, the report finds that firms that deploy STEM and art and design skills (STEAM) experience faster employment and sales growth than STEM firms. And, other things being equal, they are more innovative. This supports findings from the OECD, World Bank and The Council of Canadian Academies, who suggest that STEM skills are necessary for many types of innovation, as well as productivity and growth, but they are not sufficient on their own. Importantly, other skills such as leadership, creativity, adaptability, and entrepreneurial ability are required to maximise the positive impact of STEM skills on economic performance.
Fortunately, a large number of UK businesses seem to get this, even if the government does not. In 2011, it turns out, STEAM businesses employed over 3.5 million people in the UK and generated £500 billion turnover. And these businesses punch above their weight – they make up only 11 per cent of the population of non-micro firms, but generate 22 per cent of employment and 22 per cent of turnover.
The strong financial performance of STEAM businesses holds true across the economy. While these firms are widely perceived to be present in ‘high-tech’ and creative industries, the report finds them to be common in ‘low-tech’ and ‘mid-tech’ industries too. These findings are also consistent with the comparative strength of the UK’s creative economy (which counts employment of creative workers outside the creative industries across different sectors as well as those working in the creative industries).
The Fusion Effect therefore begs the question: how much of an uplift in UK productivity could we see if the government emphasises STEAM as much as it does STEM skills to businesses, and removes some of the impediments that exist towards STEAM education in recent years?
 Greenwood, C., Harrison, M., and Vignoles, A. (2011) The labour market value of STEM qualifications and occupations. London: Institute of Education / Royal Academy of Engineering.
See more here. Original article from Nesta can be found here.
The opening this week of its new showroom in Shanghai, provides Perth based Macnaughton Holdings, with an exciting opportunity to develop its growing market in China. In association with the locally based interiors expert, Shanghai Home Expo Company, the new showroom showcases Macnaughton’s Isle Mill brand of both classic and contemporary wool upholsteries and window fabrics.
“We first met Shanghai Home Expo in 2015, when they visited us at the prestigious interiors and lifestyle exhibition, Maison & Objet in Paris,” said Bill Wheelan, the company’s Sales Director. “We initially sent them a number of our pattern books, and over the coming months, they sampled a variety of our products. Having established the market for the Isle Mill’s products in China, they approached us with the showroom proposal, which will see our fabrics displayed alongside many of Europe’s top designer brands.”
He continued “The showroom formally opened last night with a grand party, and we now look forward to seeing some nice growth in this fast developing market”
The company, originally founded at the end of the eighteenth century on the banks of Loch Tay, is one of Scotland’s oldest textile companies, and remains in the hands of the seventh generation of the founding family. Headquartered in Perth, and employing almost 70 staff at its three sites around Scotland, Macnaughton has bucked the recent trend that has seen many Scottish textile jobs disappear, by concentrating on niche markets with an emphasis on exports.
New awards celebrate apprenticeships in the Scottish textiles industry
The Scottish Textiles industry has celebrated the achievement of apprentices and their host companies at the inaugural Scottish Textiles Modern Apprenticeship Awards held at Perth Racecourse.
The Awards, managed by the Scottish Textiles Skills Partnership and sponsored by Glasgow Clyde College, West College Scotland, Alex Begg and Co, Scottish Leather Group, SQA and The Worshipful Company of Weavers, recognised how apprenticeships have made a difference to businesses and careers in Scotland.
The Awards recognised employers who have fostered new talent by investing in apprenticeships and individual apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their place of work.
Award winners were announced at an industry event at Perth Racecourse,
For the full story please visit here http://www.textileskills.com/#!ma-awards-2016/y5zjw
The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) National Conference returns in 2016.
A Manufacturing Future for Scotland at the Westerwood Hotel on 7 & 8 September will bring together the ‘who’s who’ in manufacturing to help shape the vision for the future of the sector.
Sponsored by Bank of Scotland, the event is designed to inspire, influence and share expertise across all company sizes and manufacturing sectors. Key themes will include leadership; innovation & technology; investment retooling; energy efficiency and supply chains.
The two-day event includes a series of manufacturing site visits and high-profile networking Dinner on Day 1 followed by world-class keynotes from business visionaries; practical ‘how to’ workshops from successful industry practitioners and exhibition on Day 2.
India Street Bazaar compares Scotland’s lost textile industry and India’s thriving crafts, taking the history of the former Turkey Red Industry (from the West of Scotland) as a starting point.
Seven designers from India and Scotland: Laura Spring, Lokesh Ghai, Charlotte Linton, People Tree, Emlyn Firth, Raw Mango and Gabriella Marcella, were invited to explore and respond to the Turkey red archive (in particular the Bombay Sample Book) from the National Museum Scotland. They produced designs that evoke aspects of this industry whilst reflecting their own practice. The result is a range of garments and textile products, produced in India, presented alongside the story of their concept, process and production. The exhibition was conceived of, and curated by Katy West in collaboration with Tramway.
This project has taken place through long-distance conversations and a workshop based in Gujarat, India, enabling multi-platforms to discuss ethics around design, production and distribution. The project aims to trial and support responsible production in ways that are sustainable, both ethically and economically. Working with small businesses, NGO’s, industries on one, and independent artisans, each aspect of production highlights positive ways to collaborative and commission, and highlight how small industries can make a big impact on global trade.
The final designs at Tramway will highlight ways to consider slow-fashion through limited editions which give an insight into the print-making process and production of the designs by hand in India.
The products will be on display from Friday 10 June to Sunday 24 July 2016.
For more information about the exhibition please visit Tramway.
Only a few days left for Scotland’s emerging fashion and textile designers to enter the exciting NU BLVCK design competition. NU BLVCK, an innovative new Scottish based fashion e-commerce platform, disrupting the world of fashion, is currently staging an open call to engage Scotland’s design community through a competition with a winner’s prize of £2,000. NU BLVCK is gathering a community of designers and celebrated artisans from Scotland to join NU BLVCK in its quest to change the conventional model in fashion.
“…fast fashion has infiltrated the industry and as a result our wardrobes are saturated with mass manufactured, disposable clothes that give no consideration to original design, nor credit to the people who design or make them. NU BLVCK is redressing this with a completely transparent approach to design and manufacture and we’re creating beautiful limited edition fashion accessories. What’s even better is we’re doing it by celebrating the talent we have right here in Scotland.”
The competition will lead to the curation of NU BLVCK’s first collection of fashion accessories. The debut NU BLVCK Autumn / Winter ‘16 Collection will be unveiled at an exclusive event on 2nd August which will take place as part of Glasgow’s Merchant City Festival which presents some of the best of Scottish and international art, fashion and entertainment.
The evening will showcase the winning designs from the competition and guests will have the exclusive chance to get in early and pre-order products from the next big label to come out of Scotland.
The design competition is open to all designers based in Scotland, for more information see www.nublvck. com/competition
Competition closes 5pm, 26 May 2016.
75% of the people who go to events do so to network, but the reality is that the networking part is usually restricted to small talk during the event’s coffee breaks. So, to help you meet potential cooperation partners, they’ve joined forces with Enterprise Europe Network to bring you a brokerage event. People meet and greet at high speed, 20 minutes is usually enough to build connections, then the bell rings and the next talk starts.
How it works
Find out more and register at the website.
XPONorth are holding a Creative Industries Festival on 8th and 9th June 2016 in Inverness. The festival sponsored by HIE and Emergents.
XpoNorth is a creative industries network which operates all year round supporting and mentoring musicians, filmmakers, games developers, crafts, fashion and textiles designers, broadcasters, writers and publishers in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland and beyond. This year, organisers expect increased attendance, with industry experts and emerging talent taking part in masterclasses, panels, one-to-one ‘speed networking’, music, writing and film showcases, networking parties, and hands-on training courses.
In particular relation to textiles, there a variety of interesting textile elements including traditional craft, digital innovation and creative design.
TFF are running at TradingZone session in the afternoon of the 9th of June and further information can be found here.
The Scottish Textiles Skills Partnership is pleased to announce the launch of the inaugural Scottish Textiles Modern Apprenticeship Awards.
The Awards will highlight how apprenticeships have made a difference to businesses and careers in Scotland by recognising employers that have fostered new talent by investing in apprenticeships, and rewarding individual apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their place of work.
The Awards are being sponsored by Glasgow Clyde College, the Worshipful Company of Weavers, Scottish Leather Group and Alex Begg & Co.
Applications are now open with the winners set to be announced at an industry event at Perth Racecourse on 4 May 2016.
For more information on how to enter the Scottish Textiles Modern Apprenticeships Awards please visit www.textileskills.com
An innovation and business networking event for companies interested in fabric technologies is to be held at the Mountain Bike Centre of Scotland in Peebles in April. The event is being organised by the Textiles Future Forum to “help convert ideas into real, commercially viable opportunities.”
The event will be in a speed-pitching format and will help start-up and existing businesses obtain funding, work through design issues, solve manufacturing problems and gain market intelligence.
Subjects to be covered will include:
The event will be held on Thursday, 21st April.
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