SCOTLAND: Textile Firms Address Potential Skills Crisis
Textile companies in Scotland are working together to change the image of the sector and encourage more youngsters to follow a career in the industry to avert a possible skills crisis. New research has shown that within the next five years, between 15 and 20 per cent of the current workforce will reach retirement age. Many of these 2,000 or so workers have unique skills that need to be replaced, says the Behind the Label group. The research also shows a worrying trend in that seven out of ten Borders youngsters questioned do not want a career in the region's main manufacturing industry, the textile sector. Now the group, whose members include Hawick-based knitwear firm, Lyle & Scott, are working on key issues including improving collaboration between industry and education. Jan Robson, a senior personnel executive with Lyle & Scott, said some skills were already becoming very scarce. She said that improvements were already being made to change the outdated image of "poorly paid workers toiling away in the mill". "We are finding some amazing changes in attitude once we have the chance to put our case across to senior pupils," she said.
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