First trainees graduate from Centre of Excellence

Centre of excellence trainees

Published: Wednesday, 10th July 2019

The first trainees to attend the Centre of Excellence in Textiles in Hawick have received their qualifications following a 16-week training block.

The six trainees successfully completed courses on hand finishing and machine skills, as well as first aid, and two have already secured Modern Apprenticeships within the industry.

The centre has been developed to help address business critical skills issues in the textiles and knitwear sector in the Scottish Borders.

The Centre of Excellence project

The Centre of Excellence project was awarded £610,000 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)

The training has been led and assessed by Borders College.

Find out about the next block of training

A new cohort of trainees is now being sought for the next block of training. This is available to young people and those out of work, with our Employment Support Service and the DWP helping to identify potential candidates.

Anyone interested in the training opportunities available should contact Centre of Excellence in Textiles Manager Alistair Young on 01450 393939.

Prof Russel Griggs, chairman of the South of Scotland Economic Partnership, presented the successful trainees with their certificates

“This project is a fantastic example of how the public and private sectors can work effectively together to tackle issues affecting the region’s economy. In this case, that is by delivering sector-specific training and skills which are in demand in the south of Scotland’s textile and knitwear businesses.

“The involvement of these businesses in the Centre of Excellence project, and their support in loaning machinery and seconding trainers, has ensured this project has got off to a very successful start.”

Councillor Mark Rowley, Executive Member for Business and Economic Development

“Having seen the training at first-hand, I hope the initial success of the Centre of Excellence gives our textiles industry the confidence to continue to grow, safe in the knowledge that there will be a source of enthusiastic people coming through with the basic core skills.”

Didier Canivet, Head of Operations, of Hawick-based Barrie Knitwear which has taken on two of the successful trainees, added: “We are delighted to have been involved in this project from the outset and it is already clear that the training opportunities through the centre will be key to providing Barrie Knitwear and other local companies with our employees of the future.”

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

“Scottish Borders Council, the Centre and SDS local staff have worked together to provide a flexible solution to the demands of the textile industry to find new talent for hand skills locally.

“I’m pleased to see the trainees move on into employment through Modern Apprenticeships, which will allow employers to pass on their skills to a new generation.”

Further Information

Images are available from our Flickr page

The Scottish Government’s Employability Fund, which is managed by Skills Development Scotland, was used to support the delivery of training at the centre.