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Supporting capacity expansion at Arville: UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund


Three young textile technicians from Arville Textiles in Wetherby gained in-depth weaving training on Picanol looms to facilitate the company’s capacity expansion, with support from UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund.

Arville Young textile technician fund

Ben Freeman, Ryan Byrom and Simon Dixon attended a two-week residential course at the weaving machinery supplier in Belgium to ensure Arville’s new machines could run at an optimum performance level, produce quality fabric and deliver prime plant efficiency.

Simon Hartley, Head of Textiles Production at Arville, said: “We had three new Picanol Rapier Optimax looms installed with a technician on site for a few days but the residential training enabled our employees to really refine their skills on the looms. The technicians are responsible for the setting up of the machines, upkeep and maintenance and at Picanol in Belgium, they were able to learn more about how to get the most from the machines.

“It gave them a really good insight into how they work and what they can do. Sometimes it is better to take someone away from their normal working environment to concentrate on what they need to learn so the Young Technician Fund helped to do that.”

The Young Textile Technician Fund will cover 50% of the costs of in-depth training for young textile technicians, thanks to the generous support of The Worshipful Company of Weavers, The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers and The Worshipful Company of Drapers.

Ben and Ryan joined Arville as apprentices around seven years ago, while Simon has been at the firm for a few more years.

Arville specialises in the manufacture of technical textiles including beltings, filtration materials used in the food and medical industry, as well as reinforcement fabrics for automotive and air applications. The company employs approximately 100 people across the head office in Wetherby, with additional sites in Bradford and Bury.

The company currently has 24 looms and is planning further expansion but like many manufacturers, skilled workers poses a particular challenge. Arville has recently recruited three new apprentices and is teaching them how to weave.

Arville Textiles

“We are committed to training and upskilling our workers across weaving, coating and fabrication for the manufacture of our UK-made fabrics, which are used in a variety of demanding applications,” added Simon.

The Young Textile Technician Fund is now open to businesses applying to train textile technicians under the age of 30. To find out more, email paula.mcilwraith@ukft.org