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Scottish Textile News

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  • 01-Mar-2021 10:04 AM | Anonymous

    The Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers in Scotland is reopening at 2pm on Tuesday 2 March 2021 and close at 2pm on Tuesday 22 March 2021.

    There will be a total of £9 million of Scottish Government funding available.

    The fund will be open to both new and previous applicants to apply for up to £2,000 through the online application portal. Full fund guidance, including edibility criteria, will be available from 2pm on Tuesday 2 March 2021.

    Funding is available to support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to loss of income as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Immediate financial hardship means an inability to meet essential costs at the present time.

    These funds are to support freelance creative professionals working in the arts and creative sector in Scotland. It is specifically for those who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of income as a result of Covid-19.

    These roles include those whose work has direct creative outcomes as well as those who directly support the making and presentation of creative work.

    How long does this take?

    The funds are offered on a non-competitive basis and ask for minimal information, so awards can be made as quickly as possible.

    If you have applied to the fund you can expect to get your decision within 6 weeks of the date of submission.

    If you have been waiting longer than 6 weeks for your decision, please contact enquiries@creativescotland.com

    Visit the Creative Scotland site for further information and to download the fund guidance, FAQs and step-by-step application guide.

    Find out more

  • 09-Dec-2020 5:10 PM | Anonymous

    UKFT is pleased to share the final draft of the new SVQ in Leather, Sewn Products or Textiles Manufacturing at SCQF Level 5 for Scotland. This follows the successful reviews of the National Occupational Suites in these sub sectors in 2019/20.

    The original project was to review the existing two SVQs at SCQF Level 5 (Manufacturing Textile Products and Leather Production) and create a brand new SVQ in Manufacturing Sewn Products. However, the three separate SVQs were under threat following calls to streamline and rationalise training for the industry.

    On behalf of and supported by the industry, UKFT has successfully managed to merge the three separate SVQs into one qualification with sub-sector pathways.

    The final draft title, unit coverage and structure have been requested and endorsed by each Scottish sub-sector steering group, as well as being reviewed by SQA Accreditation.

    Please see the attachments for the final drafts of both the new SVQ structure and title coverage alongside the Assessment Strategy for the fashion & textiles SVQs in Scotland with the Sewn Products sector added.

    FINAL DRAFT structure for the SVQ in Leather Sewn Product or Textiles Manufacturing at SCQF5 08 12 2020.docx

    FINAL DRAFT UKFT F and T Scotland Assessment Strategy 8th Dec 2020.docx

    We invite the wider industry in Scotland to review the documents attached over the next month and share any comments directly to UKFT before Friday 8th January 2021 by emailing john.west@ukft.org

    The SVQ will be submitted for approval to SQA Accreditation at the end of January 2021. Once accredited and the Awarding body secured, this qualification will be the main qualification within the existing Modern Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles ‘Heritage’ framework at SQCF Level 5.

    Could you be an External Verifier?

    We are looking for industry specialists to become External Verifiers for the Leather, Textiles and Sewn Products industries and work with the Awarding Body in this area. This is a paid role.

    External Verifiers (EVs) are appointed by awarding bodies to ensure quality assurance. EVs check the accuracy of assessment and verification decisions ensuring they comply with national standards and awarding body procedures and provide a supporting role for centres. The full description is listed on pages 9/10 of the Assessment Strategy attachment above.

    External Verifiers should:

    • Demonstrate occupational knowledge appropriate to the sector in which they are externally verifying.
    • Demonstrate sufficient and current understanding of the qualification to be externally verified.
    • Hold or be working towards achievement of the relevant external verifiers qualifications approved by the qualifications regulatory authorities and set out in national requirements and qualification guidance.
    • Know where and how to access specialist advice when additional technical knowledge relating to the NOS and the qualification is being assessed.

    If you or other colleagues fit the criteria as set on pages 9/10 and are interested in a potential External Verifier role with the Awarding Body, please contact the UKFT Director of Skills & Training on john.west@ukft.org

  • 09-Nov-2020 3:56 PM | Anonymous

    Simon Cotton is chair of the Scottish Textiles Industry Leadership Group, a board member of UKFT and CEO of Johnstons of Elgin

    It’s only when the seas are rough and the winds are whipping in every direction, that you realise how strong the boat you have built really is. In this, most destructive year, we have found out that the Scottish textile industry is incredibly robust and resilient.

    Even before COVID shook the world, the industry started 2020 with some serious headwinds. As a result of a dispute between Boeing and Airbus, completed unrelated to textiles, we faced 25% additional tariffs on Scottish wool and cashmere knitwear being sold into the world’s largest luxury market, the United States. To maintain hard-won market positions, most Scottish companies including Johnstons of Elgin had little choice but to absorb these stinging taxes.

    As Covid-19 hit markets in Asia in the first quarter we saw, like many industries, sales fall in Asian markets and in important worldwide markets like London, Paris, Milan and Hong Kong, which have become increasingly driven by international shoppers from China and Japan. By March and April retail markets across Europe were shutting down and our own factories where forced to close. Despite government support, closed factories leak money in every direction and a buoyant industry, now found its bank accounts draining and its financial capital reducing.

    Despite all these challenges the industry turned its attention to what it can do for the community. From making masks to providing scrubs free of charge for hospitals, health centres and care homes, every company looked to what it can do and put its shoulder to the wheel. 

    As lockdown continued and companies prepared to reopen safely the industry came together in the spirit of mutual cooperation which so often characterises how our industry deals with crisis.  Ideas were exchanged and experiences shared on how to keep our craftspeople safe and provide reassurance while delivering the quality and service for which we are renowned the world over.

    The pain of closed retail stores and reduced sales meant restructuring for many companies, including ours, was inevitable. In an industry where mills are so often intrinsic to the local communities these decisions were emotionally difficult, indeed painful. Where families and neighbours often work side by side, losing staff is particularly hard.

    We now face a challenging winter. The spectre of a “no deal” Brexit brings with it the risks of duties under WTO rules, which would be the highest faced by any sector. The international businesses which we have built, exporting our goods to the top of every market in the world, mean our businesses will be challenged once more if a deal cannot be found.

    At the same time other political decisions are adding new risks. The abolition of VAT-free status for sales to international shoppers will deeply damage the stores which we sell to and sell through. This decision, which will clearly reduce the revenues for HMRC, is hard to understand. At the same time, with our international trade shows closed, we have been denied access to the pre-approved funding support for the new, digital shows which have sprung up in their place. As frustrating and hard to understand as these decisions are, the industry will surely overcome these obstacles as well.

    Why is the industry so resilient? The textile industry which remains in Scotland has been battle-hardened by almost a century of challenges. If we can carve out such successful global businesses against international competition where throw-away garments are frequently made in atrocious conditions, with scant regard for environmental conditions, then to be honest, we can survive everything. Normally privately owned, we have built our businesses for resilience, funded from profits rather than borrowing and committed to excellence rather than fast returns.

    The future will bring its challenges. While our resilience has been proved again, balance sheets have been hit and deb incurred to survive this unprecedented challenge. With Industry 4.0 bringing unique challenges and opportunities, investment now is essential. We will look for the care and help of government administrations in London and Edinburgh to help us move into this “brave new world” even stronger and to take the opportunities which are within our grasp.

    We now face a world which in so many ways has come to appreciate what we offer. We see consumers who care about sustainability and the way things are made. We see a renewed interest in ensuring that workers are paid fairly and treated with dignity. This new world is one set with challenges but also full of opportunities which we can and will embrace. Having seen how this industry has survived this bizarre year, I am more convinced than ever that it will move from strength to strength in the years that follow.

  • 09-Nov-2020 11:26 AM | Anonymous

    The Creative Scotland Hardship Funds for craft freelancers, distributed by the Crafts Council, re-opens tomorrow (Tuesday 10th November).

    The first round was fully subscribed within a few hours after opening so if you think you might be eligible, find out more on the link below.

    Hardship Fund  https://www.craftscotland.org/community/opportunity/hardship-fund-for-creative-freelancers

    This week is also the launch Craft Week Scotland, which will feature a series of talks throughout the week. Find out more here

    Craft Week Scotland  https://www.craftscotland.org/whats-on/event/craft-week-scotland-2020

  • 02-Nov-2020 4:18 PM | Anonymous

    Scottish Enterprise is working with the eight Chambers of Commerce in Scotland who are licensed by HM Government and HMRC to issue export and import-related documentation and services. Providing expert advice and support, they can answer your questions on export and customs documentation, changes to documentation systems and associated process changes brought about by Brexit. 
    This service is available to all companies, not just members of the Chambers. To access this support, just call your nearest Chamber.

    • Making customs declarations for companies - their HMRC compliant brokerage service will look after the import and export declaration requirements of companies 
    • Providing specialist customs advisory services - their customs brokerage service will offer a 'one stop shop' with direct links to all sea, air, rail and road ports and terminals in the UK
    • Training courses - ChamberCustoms has developed a range of training courses to respond to increasing demand. All courses are eligible for HMRC Customs Intermediary Funding 

    The eight licensed Chambers are: 

    In readiness for an unexpected increase of over 200 million customs declarations after Brexit, some of these local Chambers of Commerce have launched ChamberCustoms, a customs brokerage service for traders. 

    ChamberCustoms offering includes: 

    Further information can be accessed via: 

    View further details on how customs agents, freight forwarders and express operators can help you with declarations

    Access the list of customs agents and fast parcel operators

    You can find out how to use a freight forwarder on the British International Freight Association and Institute of Export websites.

    If you are planning to manage customs declarations for your business you can view the list of customs training providers who can help.

    Prepare your business for Brexit 

    Brexit Checklist

    Brexit Transition Toolkit 

    What does the EU transition period (Brexit) mean for my business? 

  • 29-Oct-2020 3:35 PM | Anonymous

    If you have a spark of an idea that’ll make a positive difference to your business you could qualify for support. The Innovate your Business programme from Highlands and Islands Enterprise offers a Small Innovation Grant of up to £15k. To be considered for the grant, the first step is to contact the Innovation team. Applicants must:

    • Show a distinct product/service/business model or process innovation to address market changes; or
    • Offer a direct COVID-19 solution; or
    • Demonstrate that your business has innovated to become operational again following COVID-19 related downtime.

    Find out more here

  • 28-Oct-2020 10:18 AM | Anonymous

    MAKE | Learn: Pilot Project Manager
    Closing date: 5pm, Friday 30 October 2020

    MAKE is looking for an imaginative and experienced Education and Community Outreach Project Manager to develop and manage a pilot schools project.

    MAKE | Learn is a new project, which explores the provision and development of craft education within Scotland’s primary and secondary schools.

    Craft Destinations - Free Profile until March 2021
    Closing date: 5pm, Saturday 31 October 2020

    Following on from the Craft Directory free offer for maker profiles which ran in August, Craft Scotland is delighted to create a free Craft Directory profile offer for Craft Destinations in Scotland. Apply during October 2020 and get a 5 months free profile (offer ends 31 March 2021). 

    This offer is also part of Craft Week Scotland, running from Monday 9 – Sunday 15 November 2020.

    COMPASS: Selling Craft from a Retailer Perspective
    Event date: Tuesday 3 November 2020

    This session with Susan Doherty, owner of destination concept store, Lifestory will give you an insight into adapting retail selling online and in-person during a pandemic.


    COMPASS: Selling Craft from a Maker Perspective
    Event date: Tuesday 10 November 2020

    Gain valuable insights from jeweller/designer Stefanie Cheong, designer Alan Dibble of Green Thomas, and ceramic artist Frances Priest into how to identify alternative selling routes during the pandemic, including selling online, directly through Instagram and #artistsupportpledge.


    Get Involved in Craft Week Scotland
    Event date: Monday 9 – Sunday 15 November 2020

    Calling all makers, craft destinations and craft organisations - join Craft Scotland in its celebration of Scotland's contemporary craft sector.

    Craft Scotland is looking to raise awareness of the breadth of craft talent and skill that Scotland has to offer. Share your latest news, online exhibitions and workshops during the week using the hashtag #craftweekscotland. If you would like to list your events on the What’s On section, please get in touch with your news at hello@craftscotland.org.

    Craft Week Scotland will run from Monday 9 to Sunday 15 November 2020.

  • 26-Oct-2020 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    More funding will be made available for businesses affected by the extension of temporary restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus.

    The First Minister announced that the current temporary restrictions will remain in place until 2 November. As a result, funding for business grants over this period will be increased proportionately.

    The COVID-19 Restrictions Fund will now provide one-off grants of up to £4,310 to businesses required to close by regulations.

    For businesses that may remain open but are directly impacted by the restrictions, the maximum hardship fund grant will increase to £2,155.

    Additionally, grants of £1,650 will help those firms that are required to close to help meet the 20% employer’s contribution that they are required to pay under the current UK Government furlough scheme.

    These one-off grants are for the period until 2 November only and will be replaced by a new system of business support to complement the “levels” approach due to be debated in Parliament next week.

  • 26-Oct-2020 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    Details of grants available to businesses as part of Scotland’s refreshed strategic approach to suppressing coronavirus (COVID-19) have been published.

    From 2 November, firms that are required by law to close will be eligible for grants every four weeks for as long as the restrictions last. Based on rateable values, awards will be for either £2,000 or £3,000.

    Businesses which can remain open, but are directly constrained by the measures, will be eligible for grants worth £1,400 or £2,100, again based on rateable value.

    This support is in addition to the UK Government’s revised furlough scheme launching on 1 November.

  • 26-Oct-2020 10:43 AM | Anonymous

    Hardship Fund for Creative Freelancers – Opens 26th October

    What is this fund for?

    To support creative freelancers working in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial hardship due to the loss of income as a result of COVID-19.

    The funds offer a one-off monetary contribution to those who are most deeply impacted and disadvantaged by the cancellation of work as a result of the emergency situation.

    Funds are finite and a high level of demand is expected. The funders ask that only those in real need apply.

    There is £5m allocated towards this programme. Bursaries can be requested for any sum from £500 – £2000. If you have specific access needs, then you may request more than this.

    Who can apply?

    These funds are to support freelance creative professionals working in the arts and creative sector in Scotland who are experiencing immediate financial difficulty due to the loss of income as a result of COVID-19.

    These roles include those whose work has direct creative outcomes as well as those in supporting roles whose work directly supports the making and presentation of creative work.

    All applicants must be based in Scotland and must be able to demonstrate they were working and making income as a freelance creative professional before lockdown began (in March 2020).

    How does the application process work?

    To apply, you will need to do the following:

    • All applicants must register on the Creative Scotland online application portal. The application portal link – https://www.creativescotland.com/funding/funding-programmes/hardship-fund-for-creative-freelancers – will be available at midday on Monday 26 October 2020
    • You will need to set up a temporary application account
    • After email verification you will be asked for further contact details and to select your role from a drop-down list of eligible roles.
    • Depending on the information received you will be given a Unique Reference Number and told which of the funding partners you should complete your application with

    Find out more here.

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