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Empowering knitwear programmers at Harley of Scotland: UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund


Kate Wilson and Joanne Fowlie, both knitwear programmers at Harley of Scotland recently completed in-depth training at Karl Mayer Stoll in Germany, with support from UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund.

Joanne & Kate at Harley of Scotland YTTF

Harley of Scotland is a premium knitwear manufacturer founded in 1929 and based in Peterhead in Aberdeenshire, harnessing almost a century of textile knowledge and technical expertise spanning three generations of the Harley family. The company produces knitwear based on the classic Shetland and Fair Isle styles of Scotland’s northeast, combining a forward thinking approach and a strong commitment to quality.

Kate at Harley of Scotland YTTF

Kate, aged 25, and Joanne, aged 27, undertook the M1 Plus Knit & Wear Basic course at the Karl Mayer Stoll facility in Reutlingen, Germany, to expand on their existing knowledge from working as a Stoll machine operator in the factory. The training builds on in-house learning and ensures the two knitwear programmers keep up with new features on the software.

Kate at Harley of Scotland YTTF

Kate (pictured above) said: “It boosted my career even further, kick-starting my programming journey. The course gave me the amazing opportunity to travel and learn from the best, exposing me to knitwear designs on a new technical level. I was shown how far design ideas can be pushed and created using a variety of techniques within the M1 Plus software. With a deeper understanding, I can now programme a basic garment and see it through from start to finish, charging my excitement to learn more.”

Joanne at Harley of Scotland YTTF

Joanne (pictured above) explained: “Curiosity is key to growth and development and being able to spend time in an educational environment outside the factory, enables your imagination to stretch its legs and run free. Having these periods of freedom and exploration is essential, as it then allows me to come back to work with fresh, new ideas in my head to tackle new technical problems, as well as develop new designs.”

John Watson, Director at Harley of Scotland, said that this type of training fosters a culture of knowledge sharing and continuous improvement, while allowing the company to serve customer requirements to the highest standards. It also enhances the employees’ sense of empowerment and ability to innovate and present new ideas, he said.

The Young Textile Technician Fund will cover 50% of the costs of in-depth training for young textile technicians, thanks to the generous support of The Worshipful Company of WeaversThe Worshipful Company of Clothworkers and The Worshipful Company of Drapers.

The Young Textile Technician Fund is now open to businesses applying to train textile technicians under the age of 35. To find out more, email katie.robinson@ukft.org