Hawick was given a welcome double boost this week as not only was its long-awaited textile skills training centre officially unveiled but an investment of £60,000 to redevelop key buildings in its town centre was also announced.
Those two projects are part of a package of initiatives, also including the expansion of the town’s Borders College campus, being brought in by the South of Scotland Economic Partnership to boost the region’s fortunes.
Scottish Government rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing announced the extra funding during a visit to Hawick High School today, May 2, to open the new £610,000 centre of excellence for textiles there.
The Buccleuch Road centre is intended to help tackle a skills gap in the town by increasing the availability of training for those seeking employment in the textile industry.
Mr Ewing said: “The Scottish Government is committed to improving access to skills and training in rural areas.
“The new textiles centre will help to develop future talent that will drive the textiles industry forward and continue its long-standing success.
“Supporting rural communities is an important priority for the Scottish Government.
“I am therefore delighted to announce a further £60,000 of support for Hawick which will help to revitalise the historic town centre and encourage more people to visit the area.
“The ongoing work of South of Scotland Economic Partnership, the establishment of South of Scotland Enterprise, and the £85m we are investing in the Borderlands inclusive growth deal underline our commitment to developing the south of Scotland’s economy to its full potential.”
Partnership chairman Russel Griggs said: “This latest funding announcement is exciting news for Hawick and is a further example of the work under way to support and develop projects which will deliver long-term social and economic benefits to communities in the south of Scotland.
“We need to be ambitious about our area to ensure we fulfil our potential and, through the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, we are able to invest in and develop those opportunities that will provide the impetus to make the south of Scotland the thriving economy we know it can be.
“This investment is great news for Hawick, a project that not only celebrates the town’s links to the textile industry but which will have a lasting impact on the region as a whole.”
Mid Berwickshire councillor Mark Rowley, Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for business and economic development, added: “The centre of excellence is an important project developed by a range of key partners, including local businesses in the textile and knitwear sectors which will help to tackle employment and succession planning challenges in the industry.
“In addition to offering job-specific training for the unemployed and additional training for existing employees in the sector, the centre of excellence also offers a new positive destination for school leavers in the Scottish Borders and, in just a short period of time, has generated interest from companies from across Scotland and the north of England.”
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