Glasgow apprentices give Sir Alex the boot


APPRENTICES from a specialist shoe firm recently got the chance to meet their hero after presenting Sir Alex Ferguson with a pair of leather brogues.

Buchanan Bespoke Footwear, in Govan, has been making high-quality tailored shoes to men for nearly 90 years.

The company has recently taken on three new apprentices, teaching this new generation the craft of luxury footwear production, and Sir Alex was keen to show his support for the Govan manufacturer and the apprentices as they master the skills.

Andrew Harvey, Scott Rennie and William Mageepresented Sir Alex with some new shoes

Apprentices Andrew Harvey, 18, Scott Rennie, 17, and William Magee, 27, from the Govan area, recently made the journey from the company’s headquarters in Helen Street to Manchester United’s training ground, to soak up the atmosphere and deliver the shoes to Sir Alex in person.

The experience was particularly exciting for William who is a player for Harmony Row Football Club, of which Sir Alex is a patron and honorary member.

William said: “It was a dream come true to meet Sir Alex. He is one of Britain’s greatest living football managers and I hope to see him wearing them at a match on TV soon.”

As part of their apprenticeship the young men will learn first-hand about the shoemaking process from beginning to end.

Initially Buchanan Bespoke Footwear’s last-maker will make a last from the detailed measurement of the foot. Then the pattern cutter will design the patterns for the chosen style and cut the uppers from the leather. The leather and lining are then pieced together carefully for quality and comfort, and the footwear is then hand made on the last using traditional skills and expertise.

Diana Currie, managing director of Buchanan Bespoke Footwear, said: “We have been providing high quality footwear since 1925. It is important that we keep the traditional hand crafting shoemaking skills alive and by taking on new apprentices we can create a new generation of experts who can keep the business going as other staff retire.

“I wrote to Sir Alex to tell him about our commitment to training and the three new apprentices. He was only too happy to show his support and get involved with us as we are based in his hometown. Our apprentices were thrilled to meet him and I am sure it will inspire them to continue learning new skills and the business as a whole.”

Cathy Black, head of textiles, Scottish Enterprise, said: “Our textiles and apparel industry in Scotland relies on meticulous processes and a highly skilled workforce. It is essential for companies, like Buchanan Bespoke Footwear to invest in the next generation through apprenticeships and ensure that skills are passed on allowing the industry to thrive.

“We know that the Buchanan team enjoyed their visit to meet Sir Alex and that they now have a new ambassador for their premier league products.”

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