UK: Scotland launches strategy for textiles industry
Scotland has unveiled a new strategy aimed at making its textiles industry more modern, dynamic and innovative and, ultimately, boosting its strength in the global marketplace.
The strategy aims to build on the country's history of making high-quality textiles while reinforcing its design and innovation capacities.
Developed by Scotland's textiles industry, in partnership with trade unions and Scottish Enterprise's Scottish Textiles team, the strategy sets out a path for the sector to boost its contribution to the economy.
The three key aims at the heart of the strategy are to:
• Increase Scotland's international profile as a centre for top-level design and technical textiles.
• Create greater collaboration between textiles companies and with other sectors to exploit new opportunities through innovative products and services.
• Strengthen the world-class workforce that already exists in Scotland and increase the proportion of the workforce in high-value employment.
Scottish Textiles Manufacturing Association chairman James Sugden said: "The textiles industry in Scotland has moved a long way from the 1970s and 1980s.
"Investment in technology means that a mill is now a quiet, high-tech environment, while an emphasis on design has meant that Scottish companies are working in specific niche and luxury markets and supplying some of the world's leading couture houses as well as developing already well-known Scottish brands."
Sugden said the industry needed a strategy reflecting these aspects in order to build its profile domestically and internationally.
Kirsty Scott, manager of the Scottish Textiles team at Scottish Enterprise, added: "...this strategy is about building on that success and raising the ambition of Scottish companies to go out there and compete with the best in Europe, the Far East and in the US".
There are currently 450 textiles companies in Scotland, directly employing more than 17,000 people.
The sector has an annual turnover of GBP1.08bn (US$2.12bn) and export sales of GBP390m.
32% of employment in the sector is in high-value jobs, up from just 15% in 2000, reflecting the changing profile within the sector.
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