Local MP Michael Moore has labelled the textile apprenticeship initiative at local manufacturers as a “fantastic advert” for the town.
The scheme, launched in October last year with the help of Skillset, exists to encourage the recruitment and training of young people in the textile industry.
It was established by Robin Deas of House of Cheviot and Mike Wilson of the Scottish Borders Exporters’ Association, and now incorporates a host of knitwear manufacturers from Hawick and the Borders.
Secretary of State Moore last week met apprentices and leading figures in the knitwear industry during tours around Peter Scott, Hawick Cashmere, and the Textile Towerhouse. He was duly positive about the impressions he gained on his visit around the town on Friday.
“The young apprentices in Peter Scott and Hawick Cashmere are a fantastic advert for the town: engaged, enthusiastic, fully commited to their job, and clearly excited by the training they’re getting.
“To see many of them taking a new attitude – some of them said “I didn’t see a future in knitwear, but now I understand there is” – is important for the town.
“Some of the young people had had no jobs since leaving school or a mixture of short-term jobs. Some had avoided the textile sector even though their families had been involved in it, but to a person they were all enthusiastic about it.
“To see the pride of the women at Peter Scott’s and the men at Hawick Cashmere passing on their skills is fantastic.
Mr Moore said he was delighted to witness the fruits of a partnership that is now recognised throughout the country as a model of such a co-operative.
“Last Autumn, I held a seminar on the challenges facing young people entering work, and I chose to do it in Hawick for a reason,” he explained. “What I’m delighted about is that the ‘partnership working’ I talked about that day, with everyone coming together, is the same spirit and working together that has now delivered this modern apprenticeship.
“This is great for the industry – getting young people in is great for the future – and it’s great for Hawick, because the town is now a leading light in Scotland.
“I will be making sure manufacturers across Scotland will be looking to Hawick. The initiative taken by the Hawick businesses, supported by a number of different partners, is now being seen as a model for the rest of Scotland in getting young people into manufacturing.”