Elgin weavers first in Scotland to gain qualification

Brian Milton flanked by Willie Wood and Ian Urquhart from Johnstons of Elgin

Two Elgin weavers have been speaking of their pride over becoming the first to achieve a new vocational qualification in their industry.

Garry Marshall and Brian Milton completed their Level 3 Modern Apprenticeships in the textile industry by enrolling through Glasgow Clyde College but completing their training at work with Johnstons of Elgin.

Garry, 45, who has worked for the Elgin firm for six years, said: “When I was at school my whole family worked in the mill so I always wanted to work there, too.

“I’ve done the job I do now for several years but I’m really pleased that I’ve now got a qualification that proves I’m capable of working with all the machinery.”

Brian meanwhile has meanwhile worked in the industry for several years but is now delighted to have his skills formally recognised: “In this industry, you learn a lot whilst working on the job so it’s great that Garry and I have been able to get certified in what we do.

“I love working in the mill as there’s a lot of variety involved in my job. Now that I’m certified, I’m able to supervise other weavers so I’m looking forward to passing on my knowledge to newer members of staff.”

Dr Alex McCluskey, Director of Creative and Cultural Industries at Glasgow Clyde College, explained that the college has been delivering Fashion and Textiles Heritage (Manufacturing Textiles Products) Modern Apprenticeship since early 2012.

He said: “In that time more than 200 employees across the industry have either completed, or are currently working towards, their MA award. This could not have been achieved without significant support, commitment and investment from the industry.

“We are constantly striving to improve the MA programme and ensure that it continues to meet the needs of industry.

“These Level 3 achievements, the first of their kind in Scotland, demonstrate the ongoing commitment of Johnstons of Elgin to the MA programme and highlight the success of the partnership between the industry and Glasgow Clyde College.

“We look forward to continuing to work together to recruit more young people into MAs across the industry in Scotland.”

Johnstons of Elgin CEO Simon Cotton added: “We are extremely proud that Brian and Garry – this achievement demonstrates their dedication and expertise.

“Developing the skills and capabilities of our craftsmen and women is at the centre of our strategy and is the key to ensuring our success of the last two hundred years continues into the next.”

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