Buoyed by the success of the textile apprenticeship scheme in Borders region, textile makers in Scotland plan to unveil a nationwide initiative intended at encouraging more youth in the country to join the industry.
Fourteen knitwear producers – Hawick Knitwear, William Lockie & Co, Barrie, Eribe, Peter Scott, Hawick Cashmere, Caerlee Mills, Holland & Sherry, Johnstons of Elgin, House of Cheviot, Robert Noble, Kearse & Boys, Scott & Charters and Lochcarron – jointly launched the scheme in Borders during last October to address the issue of crisis of skilled manpower jeopardizing the industry's existence.
The scheme worked so well that the Scottish Textile Industry Association (STIA) now wants it to be implemented across the country.
STIA Chairman, David Breckenridge, said the textile industry has not only wiped out negative perceptions about it, but has also managed to retain its buoyancy in the midst of global financial crunch and other issues concerning the global economy. All textile mills are running to good capacity, and there is no question mark on their survival, he stated.
The scheme developed in association with Creative Skillset, an independent body working with industry and Government to identify and address skills shortages in industries, has till now trained 60 apprentices who have got jobs in various textile mills across the Borders.
The organization intends to draw in nine new Borders producers this year under the scheme, and intends to create 150 more apprentices this year.
Hawick Knitwear, which has added 13 apprentices to its list of 230 workers, said the firm intends to take in increasing number of apprentices each year, as it believes it is essential to bring in young blood for survival of the industry.
While the textile industry has been losing its lustre, and has become unattractive for young aspirants over the past few years, initiatives that allow young people to get a qualification, can again bring the industry's development potential to forefront, according to experts.
Earlier, skill requirements of a firm were met due to discharge of workers following closure of other companies, but now as industry has gained stability, it is necessary to bring in new people, analysts opine.
Fibre2fashion News Desk - India