Conscious Consumption

The Local Projects Keeping Traditional Skills Alive

Discover Johnstons of Elgin

A growing number of people taking a more mindful approach to consumption can only be a good thing for the environment. Buying less and buying better is a solid starting point, but what about when resources need to be repaired and reused? As part of our Schools Interaction Programme, we have been teaching local secondary school students some basic sewing skills to encourage waste aversion and perhaps discover the craftspeople of the future. 


Across Scotland, S3 students are finishing up for the year, preparing to transition to an era of exams, higher expectations, and, in some cases, employment. In Moray, the home of our weaving mill, secondary schools facilitate end-of-term activity days for S3s this year, focusing on the theme ‘net zero’. 

Members of our team regularly visit local schools to deliver presentations on the many careers available at Johnstons of Elgin and to explain a little more about what we do. Along with other local employers, we offer young people support with building their CVs and practising interview skills. This year, we also ran activity days, teaching participants how to sew.

The students brought enthusiasm to our latest project, but no prior knowledge of sewing - a skill less frequently taught in local schools today. The students used sewing machines and waste fabric to make bunting, tote bags and cushions and learned to repair and alter clothing they had brought from home. They were invited to tour our Elgin mill, including our specialist sewing facility, Makers Croft. At least one of the students is now considering a career in textiles. 

Discover Johnstons of Elgin


In addition to our Schools Interaction Programme, we work with the University of Highlands and Islands (UHI) in Moray to support our commitment to sustainability and encourage the craftspeople of the future. Each year, we invite students to help solve problems within our business, discover more about what we do, and boost their employability. 

This year, UHI engineering students have been working in our Yarn Manufacturing department, learning skills such as testing yarn strength and bobbin repairs. Last year, students created a video and manual showing how to build and repair a vintage Singer sewing machine. They also created G-codes so we can 3D print hard-to-source parts when they become worn or break. 

Discover Johnstons of Elgin


At Johnstons of Elgin we also offer Textile and Manufacturing Modern Apprenticeships, with 28 in-house assessors at our Elgin site.

By equipping students at all levels with the skills to repair and revive and inspiring the makers and menders of the future, we hope to take some small steps towards nurturing a culture of conscious consumption. To learn more about our Schools Interaction Programme or to discover a career at Johnstons of Elgin, visit careers@johnstonsofelgin 

Discover Johnstons of Elgin
Discover Johnstons of Elgin
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