Cardonald College gets involved in a joint effort to save Scotland’s knitting industry. The college will support new apprentices alongside Scottish Textiles Academic Group.
By Angela Haggerty
CARDONALD college, Glasgow will boost an effort to save Scotland’s knitting industry after a group of business rivals put competition aside in an attempt to revitalise the work force.
A recent survey revealed that 12 knitwear companies from the Scottish borders were expecting to lose 10% of their workforce over the next five years to retirement, forcing the industry to address its lack of recruitment and apprenticeship programmes.
As a result, manufacturers have come together with Skillset and trade, education and government bodies to form an apprenticeship programme that will recruit and train a new generation of workers for the industry.
Alongside the Scottish Textiles Academic Groups (STAG), Cardonald College will provide academic support for the apprentices, trainers and assessors.
Cardonald College has had its own successes in the knitwear field in recent years. In 2010, Fashion Textiles student Pat Strong, pictured right, won the Knitwear Designer of the Year award at the Clothes Show Live event in Birmingham after entering a competition to design and make a dress.
“It was a competition to knit a 1930s style dress so I did a long black dress and it won it,” Pat said.
Pat, 55, went on this year to work with big industry name, Di Gilpin, after she enlisted her skills to help produce items for a spring/summer collection that would form part of Design Collective Scotlands’s first ever collection for London Fashion Week.
“She [Di Gilpin] is a knitwear designer. She’s very well known in the knitting world,” Pat said. “I was particularly interested because I’d used her designs and patterns before. They have a real Scottish feel to them.
“She told me what she wanted for her designs so I made her mustard yellow palazzo pants. I also knitted a bra top and a wrap around top for her but I don’t know if it got used.”
Pat believes that knitting is making a comeback and hopes to continue in the field once she finishes her HND Fashion Textiles studies at the college.
“There is supposed to be a resurgence in knitting, it’s more popular than it was before. I want to set up my own business and do something with it.”