Skills shortage puts hems on Bonnybridge alterations business

Angela Sneddon at work in Sew Eazy. The business is struggling to recruit due to a skills shortage. Picture: Alan Murray
Angela Sneddon at work in Sew Eazy. The business is struggling to recruit due to a skills shortage. Picture: Alan Murray

A Bonnybridge alterations service is struggling to 
recruit staff due to a shortage of people with professional sewing experience.

Anne-Marie Lochhead, owner of Sew Eazy business in Wellpark Terrace, said the closure of central Scotland’s clothing factories in the 1980s and 1990s has led to a lack of sewing machinists and 
seamstresses.

It’s difficult to train staff on the job as we’re dealing with clothes that cost customers hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds

Anne-Marie Lochhead

The 60-year-old is actively looking to recruit new staff as her business grows but claims she is being hampered by a skills shortage caused by a lack of young people entering the industry and few places 
offering training.

“It’s difficult to train staff on the job as we’re dealing with clothes that cost customers hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds,” she said.

“There are no longer the sewing factories there once were, like Wrangler or Levis. Many of the women employed have since retrained and now work in other industries.

“Some of them actually come in our shop as they no longer have any interest in sewing.”

Anne-Marie, of Fankerton, works alongside her seamstress daughter Angela Sneddon (36), a former employee at the Wrangler factory in Camelon. Its closure in 1999, with the loss of 500 jobs, ended 30 years of production at the site, which is now occupied by a Tesco superstore.

“We’re looking at recruiting full-time and part-time staff,” she said.

“I’ve spoken with Stirling Business Gateway, and they told me other similar businesses are also struggling to find people.