Knitwear project has Young Enterprise well wrapped up

Deedee Cuddihy

Before the Christmas break, Jan Kilmurry-Webley, art and design and Link teacher at Dumfries High, issued a strange warning to a group of 18 sixth-year pupils at the school: "No knitting during the holidays!"

The group are members of Pro-cess, the school's Young Enterprise company. All of them - boys and girls - have been knitting up a storm since the start of the school year, producing a range of fabulous chunky scarves as well as cute rabbit and duck bootees for babies.

Jan, who worked in industry before becoming a teacher in 1996, has been in charge of the school's Young Enterprise firms for the past nine years. When Pro-cess formed in June last year, they decided to focus on a product that was lo-tech and over which they would have complete control.

"A pupil, Karis Coupland, the company's product design director, is great at knitting and she organised a workshop to find out if simple knitting by hand was something the whole team could cope with," she says.

The pupils, including finance director Mitch Johnstone, have become so good at knitting and marketing their product (modelled above by design director Stewart Tait) that they won the Dumfries and Galloway Young Enterprise competition to take their scarves and bootees to a four-day trade fair in Sofia, Bulgaria, in March.

Jan, who has become a "star" knitter, says: "Teenagers get such a bad press, but the Pro-cess kids have been fantastic. Everyone has been so impressed by their hard work and commitment. We've had lots of after-school sessions where we sit around knitting while watching old black-and-white films.

"That's why I insisted they had a break during the holiday, because between now and March they'll have to work flat out."

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Deedee Cuddihy

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