SCHOOL pupils from across Scotland have visited Dumfries House to learn more about skills and job opportunities in the fashion and textiles scene.
More than 50 secondary school pupils attended the Industry Insight event that aims to increase pupil understanding of the textiles industry and encourage uptake of related school qualifications and careers in that field.
The event at the historic venue near Cumnock was organised as part of the Future Textiles programme, which is run at the estate, and followed a pilot project run in September that focused on the skills needed to succeed in the industry.
Future Textiles is run in collaboration with Ayrshire and Glasgow Clyde colleges and is geared towards addressing a skills gap in the fashion and textiles industry.
More than 800 participants – teachers and secondary school pupils, as well as industry representatives undertaking specialist training – have participated in workshops in sewing, pattern-drafting, and woven textiles as part of the programme.
The project has attracted support and input from local and national industry experts, including Scottish designer Christopher Kane and Savile Row tailor Patrick Grant, judge on television series The Great British Sewing Bee.
At the event last week, Alistair McAulay, founder of interiors specialist Timorous Beasties, and his colleague Gavin Thomson, a screen printer, spoke about their world-renowned printed textiles brand.
Elizabeth Wallace, founder of her own eponymous bridalwear business in Kilmarnock, and Jennifer Grubb, a costume maker at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, also shared their industry expertise.
Ashleigh Lindsay, Future Textiles project assistant at Dumfries House, said: “We were delighted to welcome pupils to our Industry Insight event. It was obvious that they have great enthusiasm for textiles and an impressive knowledge of the subject gained at school, and they engaged well with the industry experts who came along. We hope they, like the many other pupils who have attended similar events have gained motivation to pursue qualifications in the subject and a career in one of Scotland’s most exciting and thriving industries.”