Upcoming £610,000 Hawick textile centre looking for first intake of trainees

Hawick High School.
Hawick High School.

Hawick’s forthcoming centre of excellence in textiles is seeking its first intake of trainees.

Up to 16 trainees will be taken on for its first course, developed to help address critical skills shortages in the Borders’ textiles and knitwear industry.

Following research to identify the types of training needed most, that inaugural course will focus on hand-finishing and machine skills.

Anyone interested in signing up is asked to contact centre manager Alistair Young on 01896 622701 or by email at alistair.young@scotborders.gov.uk

Clive Brown, sales director of Hawick knitwear firm Barrie, said: “We are delighted to support the opening of the centre of excellence in textiles and assist with the delivery of this first block of training alongside colleagues from Johnstons of Elgin.

“The industry as a whole in the Borders is right behind this project, which will help provide school-leavers and the unemployed with basic skills across a range of areas to help them get jobs in the sector, as well as supporting existing employees with developing their skills further, including in leadership and management.

“Knitwear and textiles have moved on significantly in recent years, and many of the businesses in the Borders are growing and need to bring new people into the industry.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for people to take the first step towards an exciting new career.”

The centre, to be sited at Hawick High School, is being funded by a £610,000 handout from the Scottish Government via the south of Scotland economic partnership.

It’s being run by Scottish Borders Council and, besides textile and knitwear manufacturers, other project partners include Skills Development Scotland, Scottish Enterprise, Scottish Development International and the UK Government’s department for work and pensions.

David Martin, key sector manager for creative industries at Skills Development Scotland, said: “The centre of excellence will play a key role in addressing the skills needs of the sector, and initial research carried out with 27 companies has identified their likely employment opportunities and succession planning requirements over the next five years.

“This initial block of training is an opportunity to target the area of greatest need, and I would encourage anyone who would like to work in knitwear or textiles, or has done so previously and would like to return, to take up the opportunity to get the training that will make them a prime candidate for upcoming employment opportunities.

“Skills Development Scotland is working closely with the project partners and industry representatives to ensure that the training provided through the centre of excellence is absolutely focused on delivering what the businesses need and the apprenticeship opportunities that will help people get long-term employment within this growing sector.”