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Skills for the future: UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund


Investing in skills for the future with UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund


UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund

UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund helps businesses across the UK to train their young textile technicians in a variety of textile roles, including spinning, weaving and knitting.

The fund will cover 50% of the costs of in-depth training, allowing UK textile businesses to extend their capabilities, increase flexibility and develop new skills.

This type of training is typically carried out by machinery builders, often at overseas training schools, and is extremely specialised. As companies invest in new textile technology, the requirement for highly-skilled textile technicians has never been more important but this type of in-depth training can be prohibitively expensive.

The fund is open to businesses applying to train textile technicians under the age of 30. It has been made possible thanks to the generous support of The Worshipful Company of Weavers, The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers and The Worshipful Company of Drapers.

Danny King, a former apprentice who has been working at Keighley-based specialist commission weaver Pennine Weavers for the past four years, was the first recipient of the fund to undertake a two-week residential course focused on the Dornier rapier weaving machine in Germany last year.

“The training made me much more confident in being able to fix specific areas of the weaving loom and I feel my knowledge of the looms has improved a lot,” said King, aged 23.

“I feel like now I can do a lot more, alone, to get the weaving machine to run efficiently producing quality cloth.

“The training provided by Dornier in their factory, by their best technicians has given me the confidence and knowledge to bring back to Pennine to help keep us at the top of the league of commission weavers in the world,” he explained.

Other beneficiaries of the scheme include Craig McKay, a sample warper aged 19; Sean Hannah, a beamer and warper aged 25; and Stephen Reynolds, a tuner aged 27, from Bute Fabrics in Scotland. They received three days of training from German machinery manufacturer Groz-Beckert at the factory on the Isle of Bute. The training was focused on the Super Vega healding machine, which allows an empty loom to be set up for the new warp before the new warp has been made, allowing for a faster turnaround.

Eddie Planck, operations director at Bute Fabrics, explained that the company had purchased a new machine but only one person could use it, which meant it wasn’t often being used.

“The task had to be done by hand and I have never had someone do it without making a mistake, somewhere down the line,” he said. “We are delighted with what we can do now and have more people who can work with that machine.”

As the company is based on the island, training is typically done in-house by existing staff passing on skills to new employees but Eddie said that having training given first-hand by an industry expert was a real benefit.

“It was great to have the right people here at our factory,” he said.

He also praised the process of applying for a grant as simple and straightforward. “Dealing with UKFT was really easy,” he said.

For more information and to see whether your training requirements are covered by the fund, please contact martin.jenkins@ukft.org.


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