New Awards celebrate apprenticeships in the Scottish Textiles Industry

Bruce Easton - Apprentice Of The Year Award Winner

The Scottish Textiles industry has celebrated the achievement of apprentices and their host companies at the inaugural Scottish Textiles Modern Apprenticeship Awards held recently at Perth Racecourse.

The Awards, managed by the Scottish Textiles Skills Partnership (STSP) and sponsored by Glasgow Clyde College, West College Scotland, Alex Begg and Co, Scottish Leather Group, SQA and The Worshipful Company of Weavers, recognised how apprenticeships have made a difference to businesses and careers in Scotland.

The Awards recognised employers who have fostered new talent by investing in apprenticeships and individual apprentices who have made a significant contribution to their place of work.

Award winners were announced at an industry event at Perth Racecourse:

  • Small Employer of the Year - Drumbeat/Redshank/Kilts & Trews partnership
  • Medium Employer of the Year - Bute Fabrics
  • Large Employer of the Year – Scottish Leather Group
  • Apprentice of the Year, Level 2- Bruce Easton, The Border Mill
  • Apprentice of the Year, Level 3 - Jack Boon, Alex Begg & Co
  • Apprenticeship Champion of the Year - John Ayton, Scottish Leather Group

Companies and individual MAs supported by Glasgow Clyde College scooped 3 of the 6 main Awards and 7 Special Commendation Awards. Bute Fabrics won Medium Employer of the Year, Bruce Easton from The Border Mill won Apprentice of the Year (Level 2) and Jack Boon from Alex Begg & Co won Apprentice of the Year (Level 3).

Working in partnership with the Scottish Textile and Leather Association, the industry association for the textile sector in Scotland, the college has led the way in delivering the Fashion & Textiles Heritage MA with nearly 200 textiles employees successfully completing their MA programme. This is a great example of the college working hand in hand with industry to meet their skill needs and prepare the next generation of talented employees.

Among those who have benefited from the programme is Bruce Easton, winner of the Apprentice of the Year (Level 2) Award. Bruce joined The Border Mill in September 2014 as an apprentice Mill Technician. He completed the Level 2 apprenticeship in June 2015 and is now working towards completion of Level 3. Bruce’s ability to efficiently manage multiple processes, his meticulous attention to detail and his trouble-shooting ability have contributed significantly to an increase in the mill’s productivity, through reduction in machine down-time and reworking.

“During his time with the company Bruce has demonstrated his willingness to learn and has become an integral and highly valued member of the small team at The Border Mill”, John & Juliet Miller, Owners, The Border Mill.

Scottish Leather Group, winners of the Large Employer of the Year Award have invested in creating their own Apprenticeship Academy which will not only develop the next generation of employees for their own business but will also develop young people with transferable skills who will be attractive to the wider manufacturing industry.

“Modern apprenticeships are supporting SLG to develop new talent who will not only satisfy future skills demand but who are integral to the future success and sustainability of our business”, Callum MacInnes, HR Manager, SLG.

The Scottish Textiles Skills Partnership brings together partners from education, industry and the public sector to address the skill needs of the textiles, leather & fashion sectors. The Modern Apprenticeship programme is key to supporting businesses to attract and develop new talent who will not only satisfy future skills demand but who are integral to the future success and sustainability of the industry.

For more information on the Scottish Textiles Skills Partnership, please visit

Image shows Bruce Easton, winner of Apprentice of the Year Level 2.