Shot in the arm for the textile industry

The textile and knitwear industry in the Borders is to receive a huge shot in the arm with the launch of a major training programme which will create a new pool of skilled workers.
Nick Bannerman.Nick Bannerman.
Nick Bannerman.

Borders College, supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE) and Scottish Borders Council, are to deliver the ‘Skills for Work Textiles’ training course targeted at meeting the requirements of the industry and promoting a career in textiles as an exciting opportunity.

To be launched early in 2023 the programme’s priorities will include developing workshops aimed at young people in local schools to introduce them to the textiles industry and learn about the roles available.

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An accelerated short course for groups like school leavers, the unemployed, home workers and those seeking a career change will also be provided.

Nick Bannerman, the managing director of Johnston’s of Elgin in Hawick, a leading member of the new working group set up by local textile and knitwear groups, is fully supportive of the new initiative.

He said: “I speak for all the managing directors of our local knitwear companies in supporting the provision of training which aims to create a pool of newly trained and skilled people. This will help us grow into the future, as well as benefit the social fabric of our local towns.”

Councillor Scott Hamilton, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for Community and Business Development, said: “This will not only help the sustainability of the sector but also provide training and employment opportunities for young people, those out of work and those looking to increase their income.

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“The Borders has been renowned for the quality of its textiles for hundreds of years and we want to ensure that is maintained.”

Katharine Mathison, director of Enterprise and Business Innovation at Borders College, added: “We have delivered the Modern Apprenticeships in Textiles course for some years now and provide a progression from SCQF level five to level seven. However, we recognised in consultation with key employers, that additional skills were required for the entry to the industry.

“We are delighted to add the Skills for Work Textiles course to our portfolio and further support local employers to recruit and retain staff.”