Living in a Material World

The Glasgow Clyde Education Foundation has launched its latest collaborative project Material World, an industry led STEM-based online learning resource supporting the textiles sector in Scotland. 

Following a year of development, the programme received £43,500 of funding from the charity and will be delivered in partnership with the Engineering Development Trust (EDT), the Scottish Textiles Skills Partnership and Glasgow Clyde College. The venture aims to attract new talent and showcase the diverse roles and career opportunities within the textiles industry. 

Supported by the industry, Material World is a course of eight lessons using Scottish textiles, leather and fashion products to explore science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The course covers core units including exploring natural and man-made fibres, fabric structures and properties, and innovation.  

Students will learn about the textiles produced in Scotland, from iconic fashion fabrics to technical innovations such as body armour or knitted textiles used inside the body to save lives. 

Pauline Radcliffe, Director of the Glasgow Clyde Education Foundation, said: “We are thrilled to launch Material World, its value in helping drive awareness of the variety of opportunities within the textiles industry in Scotland will be invaluable. 

“Concentrating on STEM-based learning, the online platform will provide lecturers and teachers with courses to enable them to share knowledge of the industry and encourage a new generation to think about a future in textiles.” 

The programme hopes to expand the understanding of the textiles industry, raise awareness of textiles manufactured in Scotland and encourage young people to consider studying and working in the sector. 

Created for teachers, tutors and career advisors, the open educational online resource can be accessed via Glasgow Clyde College’s virtual learning platform ‘MyClyde’, which also received funding support from the Foundation as part of its award for the development of E-learning capacity at the College. 

Sally Maidment, project coordinator at Glasgow Clyde College, said: “The textiles industry is often forced between two subjects – fashion and art, but in reality, the industry is heavily focused on STEM subjects and that’s what we are really hoping to push with this programme.” 

Chair of the Scottish Textiles Skills Partnerships and MD of Alex Begg and Co, Ian Laird, said: “Textiles in Scotland is a small industry, but a huge part of its history and national identity. Scotland offers a diverse range of textiles and is internationally renowned for the high-end luxury products and technical textiles produced in Scotland. We are the forefront of cutting edge development and this resource will help ensure we attract the right people into the industry and continue its growth.” 

As part of the partnership, EDT will deliver Go4Set in Textiles, designed specifically for S2 pupils, a ten-week challenge-based programme for pupils with industry mentors and experience. 

Helen Anderson, Director at the Engineering Development Trust, said: “The textiles industry is continuously changing and growing to meet global demands. The Scottish Textile Sector has a key role to play in supplying innovative textiles, using new technology and natural fibres. 

“The launch of Material World is just the beginning of our partnership with The Scottish Textiles Skills Partnership and we’re looking forward to working with young people and attracting a new audience into the sector.”

The Glasgow Clyde Education Foundation is a registered charity that supports the development of Glasgow Clyde College as a world class teaching and learning facility, funding projects that improve the life chances of existing and potential students of the College and the surrounding communities it serves. 

Image shows Principal Jon Vincent with Patricia McKinnon and Rhian Martin

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