Page last updated at 15:19 GMT, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 16:19 UK

Pupils offered new qualification in Harris Tweed

Judy R Clark designed dress
The award gives pupils an introduction to weaving and production techniques

The first national qualification in Harris Tweed has been approved by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

Taught in four units, the National Progression Award is aimed at school pupils and college students.

It is the equivalent to an intermediate two, or credit level at Standard Grade.

Sir E Scott School on Harris helped to put together the award, which provides introductions to weaving and production techniques.

Western Isles council, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and people working in the Harris Tweed industry were also involved.

Calum Mackay, depute head teacher at Sir E Scott School, said the qualification would complement efforts to train new weavers.

'Very grateful'

Last month, 12 people started training as weavers of Harris Tweed amid fears about the industry's ageing workforce.

The trainees have been studying a course in Stornoway developed by Cardonald College in Glasgow.

An SVQ Level 1 in manufacturing textile products was adapted for Harris Tweed weavers.

Mr Mackay said the new schools qualification would give students an appreciation of opportunities in the industry.

He said: "We are very grateful for the support received from various sectors of the industry, from local funding providers and from the Scottish Qualifications Authority in the development of this award."

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