First trainees sought for Centre of Excellence in Textiles

Published: 11th February 2019

Hawick Primary School children signing a steel support beam
Four adult learners from Hawick have passed computing exams

The first trainees to attend the Centre of Excellence in Textiles in Hawick are being sought ahead of its opening

Up to 16 trainees will be accommodated in the first block of training at the centre, which has been developed to help address business critical skills issues in the textiles and knitwear sector in the Scottish Borders.

Following research commissioned by the project steering group into the areas of most demand for local textiles businesses, the first training block will focus on hand finishing and machine skills.

Anyone interested in the training opportunities available should contact Centre of Excellence in Textiles Manager Alistair Young on 01450 393 939.

Further Information

More information about the project and what it will deliver, including the training opportunities, is available on our website.


The Centre of Excellence project was awarded £610k from the Scottish Government via the South of Scotland Economic Partnership last year.


In addition to the involvement of a range of Scottish Borders based textile and knitwear manufacturers, other project partners include:

  • Skills Development Scotland
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Scottish Development International
  • the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP)

Clive Brown, sales director of Hawick-based Barrie

“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 Scottish Borders is right behind this project, which will help provide school leavers and the unemployed with the basic skills across a range of areas to help them get jobs in the sector, as well as support 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 Scottish 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.”

David Martin, Key Sector Manager for Creative Industries at Skills Development Scotland

“The Centre of Excellence will play a key role in addressing the skills needs of the sector, and the 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 focussed on delivering what the businesses need and the apprenticeship opportunities that will help people get long term employment within this growing sector.”