Getting creative in the jobs market

Upcycling materials into fashion, furnishings and crafts while learning new skills to help them in the jobs market is the goal for a group of Berwickshire women.

They are about to embark on a ten week course run by Re-Tweed in the TEDDA Centre at Eyemouth, which aims to offer them the chance to learn basic skills in craft, design and technology.

Trainer Jacqueline Thompson, will take them through the basic skills required and at the end of the first ten week course the aim is to have goods to sell on Re-Tweed’s e-commerce web site, at St Abbs Craft Fair and through local retailers.

Jacqueline’s pedigree in fashion and design speaks for itself - a fashion design degree, she is a post graduate of the London College of Fashion, ran her own stall at Camden Market in London in the 1980s where her clothes were worn by Robert Plant, Elton John and Paul Weller.

Jacqueline now runs her own business and is eager to get started on Re-Tweed.

“We’ll start by looking at fabric and finding what their inspiration is, then work on basic cushion covers, but once you have ignited someone’s inspiration it’s an easy thing for them to go home and work on their ideas.”

The idea for helping women aged 16-60+ to develop a new skill set that can help them start their own business, move into a new career or go on to further education came from Hazel Smith, formerly from Chirnside. She has worked on similar enterprise projects from Edinburgh, to Senegal and Skye, and the business plan she put together to form Re-Tweed and help the women of Berwickshire has attracted funding from First Port, Business Gateway, Borders College, BAVS, Big Lottery, and Women’s Fund.

“I put a three year business plan together and this first ten week course is a pilot project. We want to set up a small micro factory with a manufacturing team we have trained up, and encourage the women to set up their own enterprises,” said Hazel.

“Business Gateway and Borders College have been very supportive and will work with us to deliver opportunities for further learning and career paths.”