The Harris Tweed Weaver’s Association has extended a warm welcome to the latest intake of new weavers into the Harris Tweed industry.
The Horshader and Tolsta Community Trusts have supported the training and obtaining of looms for seven new weavers in their respective areas with the agreement of the Association, The Harris Tweed Authority and local mills.
In 2014 it was felt that the numbers in the weaving workforce was under strength and with careful management an increase in trained weavers would be beneficial. Today, the newly enhanced workforce is perceived to be able to meet 100% of the mill’s orders with some degree of flexibility for increases in demand for Harris Tweed cloth over the next few years.
There are now 184 working double-width looms in the islands and the Association hopes that as older weavers retire these machines will be passed on to younger weavers allowing for a gradual reduction in the average age of the workforce.
The Association believes that careful maintenance of this number will provide a sufficient level of trained and skilled artisans to ensure the current needs of the industry are met with capacity to handle some 5% increase in demand at any time.
The Association continues to work with other partners within the industry to ensure orders are fufilled for the world-famous cloth on time, while striking a balance with the commitment to ensure the workforce has sufficient work year round, ensuring vital steady incomes and a successful and vibrant weaving community going forward.