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20th November 2013, Glasgow

Apprentices key to local textile industry’s future

SDS is preparing Scotland's workforce to maximise opportunities in today's dynamic world. Hawick Knitwear has become a finalist in the Scotland’s Modern Apprenticeship Award, organised by Skills Development Scotland (SDS), which aims to encourage young people to start working in the industry. The award ceremony took place in Glasgow last week, where the winners were announced.

Finalists in Scotland's Modern Apprenticeship Awards include a designer, knitwear manufacturers, life science and defence systems companies, as well as others.

The Awards recognise the quality and value of apprenticeships, the achievements of individuals and the employers, who support them.

Employer of the Year

The firm was shortlisted in the Employer of the Year category for businesses with less than 250 employees. It is part of the industry-led Borders Textile Training Group, which helped create a fashion and textile apprenticeship framework in partnership with SDS, Creative Skillset and Cardonald College.

Hawick Knitwear HR manager Rhona McLeod commented: “As one of the major employers in the area we needed to address the issues of an ageing workforce, as well as attracting young people into the industry who may have felt there were no prospects in it. By offering apprenticeships it has shown people that the company is willing to invest in them and their skills.

“It also means they get a qualification which is recognised UK-wide and we get loyal and enthusiastic employees who see that apprenticeships are not only good for the company but good for them too.”

Next generation

Michael Moore MP visited Hawick Cashmere to find out about their programme, as part of an ongoing campaign to increase apprenticeships locally. He said: “A successful textile industry is vital to the prosperity of our region and therefore, it was heartening to see this flourishing business training the next generation of textile producers.”

“Along with most other textile companies in the town, Hawick Cashmere is very clearly investing in the future.”

The Hawick Cashmere Group consists of two operating arms. The Hawick Cashmere Company operates the manufacturing and wholesale aspects of the business, whilst Hawick Cashmere Retail operates the international network of retail stores.

Skills Development Scotland

SDS is preparing Scotland's workforce to maximise opportunities in today's dynamic world. Formed in 2008 as a non-departmental public body, SDS is bringing together careers, skills, training and funding services.

It plays an important role in driving the success of Scotland's economic future, working with partners to support individuals to reach their potential, help make skills work for employers, and improve the skills and learning system.

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