THE new Skillset Apprenticeship programme set up by 12 Borders textile groups has been welcomed by politicians on all sides.
The scheme aims to train new talent in the industry by recruting through the Job Centre, with Scottish Enterprise providing organisational support and Skills Development Scotland the financial support of up to £4,500 per apprentice.
Borders MP Michael Moore has given his backing and said: “The Scottish Borders textile industry is world-renowned and produces some of the highest quality textile garments on the market.
“It is a highly skilled industry and the complex machinery and innovative practices require employees to go through years of training and experience.
“This apprenticeship scheme is fantastic and I welcome the opportunity it brings to young people to work in the industry.”
Paul Wheelhouse, SNP MSP for the South of Scotland said: “I am delighted these 12 companies are putting aside historic business rivalries for the greater good of the textile industry.
“To see these organisations, stalwarts of Scottish Borders communities for years, working together to introduce a training programme so we don’t lose these traditional skills is fantastic.
“Here we have a brilliant example of what can be done with effective apprenticeship schemes.”
The companies involved are: Hawick Knitwear, Hawick Cashmere, Peter Scott, Johnston’s of Elgin, Barrie, William Lockie and Co, House of Cheviot, Scott andCharters, Eribe, Caerlee Mills, Kearse and Boys and Lochcarron.