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Fashion a career in textiles with new training course at Dumfries House

Residents of Ayrshire are set to benefit from a new textiles training course at Dumfries House designed to equip them with the skills needed to gain employment in the industry.

Some of the Future Textiles team at Dumfries House

The new initiative, set to commence next month [September 2019], will give local people the opportunity to learn how to become skilled sewing machinists in only eight weeks as part of The Prince’s Foundation’s efforts to help address the shortage of skills within Scotland’s textiles industry.

The new training course, entitled The Foundation Level: Sewing Skills For Industry, has been launched thanks to funding from Bairdwatson and The Turtleton Trust. 

The course will enable participants to undertake intensive training three days a week [Monday - Wednesday] in The Prince’s Foundation’s custom-built Textiles Training Centre at Dumfries House. Participants will also be able to undertake an industry work placement one day a week during the second half of the programme to give them an insight into working in the industry.

Ashleigh Douglas, manager of the Future Textiles programme at Dumfries House, said:

“People are sometimes surprised to learn that the Scottish textiles industry exports fabric to 150 countries worldwide. Some of the world’s leading designer brands rely on Scottish mills for their fabrics so it is essential that people continue to learn the skills needed to gain employment in this industry. There are also countless Scottish companies that are keen to grow and develop their range of products but are struggling to recruit skilled machinists.

“The Prince’s Foundation’s Future Textiles training initiative was established in 2015 to help address an obvious skills gap in the industry. We now offer many different workshops and training programmes to help address this, both here at Dumfries House and at Trinity Buoy Wharf in London.

“We’re very grateful to Bairdwatson and The Turtleton Trust for their support and are very much looking forward to mentoring a new generation of skilled machinists from Ayrshire as a result. Participants will be supported with travel allowances and we will also be running a pick-up service from Cumnock Bus Station as we want the course to be accessible for everyone. 

“Many graduates of our courses have gone on to secure full-time employment so we’d urge anyone with an interest in working in the industry to come along to our information day next month.”

Those interested in finding out more about the programme are invited to attend an informal information session at Jobcentre Plus on John Street in Ayr on Monday 2 September. For timings and to register interest, please email

Dumfries House, located near Cumnock, remained untouched for 250 years before it was saved for the nation by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2007. The house and estate now operate as a busy tourist attraction and education hub, offering people of all ages the opportunity to engage in learning experiences that promote confidence, personal development and training in real life skills. 

Award-winning fashion designer Patrick Grant and leading Scottish textiles manufacturer John Sugden are co-chairs of the Future Textiles training programme at Dumfries House.

The Prince’s Foundation, formed in April 2018 as a result of consolidation of Dumfries House Trust and other charities, is headquartered at Dumfries House and is now the second-largest employer in the area with more than 250 employees.


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