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New fashion and textile apprenticeships in the pipeline


Budding apprentices could soon be learning the essential skills to become a fashion studio assistant, garment maker, textiles technical specialist or technical dyer and colourist through a range of new apprenticeship standards currently in development.

UKFT is working with employer groups including Burberry, Mulberry, Christopher Raeburn, David Nieper, Savile Row, the Royal Opera House, Bower Roebuck, Abraham Moon, British Millerain, AW Hainsworth, English Fine Cottons, WT Johnson & Sons and Bulmer & Lumb on a series of new apprenticeship standards, which are replacing existing apprenticeship frameworks in England.

The move is part of UKFT’s aim to raise the skills and productivity of the people who work in our industry to the highest level, ensuring the UK fashion and textile sector remains competitive against global competition.

Standards already ready for delivery include:

  • Footwear Manufacturer – Level 2
  • Sewing Machinist – Level 2
  • Textile Manufacturing Operative – Level 2
  • Textile Care Services Operative – Level 2
  • Leather Craftsperson – Level 2
  • Fashion & Textiles Pattern Cutter – Level 3
  • Bespoke Saddler – Level 3
  • Fashion & Textiles Product Technologist – Level 4
  • Bespoke Tailor and Cutter – Level 5

The Fashion Studio Assistant (Level 3), led by the British Fashion Council and supported by UKFT, aims to introduce candidates to the designer fashion industry, offering experience in both the product and commercial sides of a brand. It aims to give a broad understanding of how a collection is created, marketed and sold.

Busy, challenging, and exciting, the apprenticeship will encompass a wide variety of tasks, and will give an invaluable education in the reality of day-to-day life in a designer business. It starts in the heart of the designer business, The Studio, where candidates learn how a collection is created, followed by 12 months in a more focused area of the business, such as product development, sales and operations or fashion marketing and communications.

The Textiles Technical Specialist (Level 4) is a technical role within textile and fashion advanced manufacturing companies, involving the production scheduling of textiles for woven and finished fabrics and managing personnel in a factory setting. Candidates will learn how to manage the technical capabilities of the plant, the product and machinery, using specialist textile equipment to weave and finish yarn and fabrics.

A Textile Technical Specialist is highly skilled and can utilise, operate and maintain all equipment within an area of operation. The specialist will work in a sophisticated production environment using ICT systems to plan and programme production machinery, interchanging between manufacturing facilities and laboratories.

The Technical Dyer and Colourist (Level 4) will learn how to produce highly specialised dyes and colours to provide dye and colour chemistry in the production of textiles, apparel, upholstery and fashion fabrics. The candidate will be responsible for the exact scientific analysis, accurate measurements, trials, production and quality of dyed, pigmented and colour applications to clothing in a heavily industrialised/mechanised scenario. Technical Dyers and Colourists are employed across micro businesses, SMEs and large businesses, ranging from small dyehouse businesses to large chemical, clothing and retail brand businesses.

UKFT has submitted an expression of interest for a Garment Maker (Level 4) apprenticeship standard in England with the Institute for Apprenticeships. The standard outlines the essential skills of high-end garment production encompassing construction, fit and quality. This multi-faceted role will cover taking measurements, assembly techniques and fit analysis, as well as pressing and finishing. Candidates will be responsible for the creation of garments through to developing the right production methods in micro businesses, SMEs, or large fashion brands.

Employers interested in the Garment Maker (Level 4) should contact apprenticeships@ukft.org for more information, or to be part of the expression of interest.

These standards are currently in development and should be ready for delivery in the near future. To find out more about what is available, please contact apprenticeships@ukft.org.

Different arrangements also apply for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. For more information, contact UKFT via the email address above.

For more information on fashion and textiles related apprenticeship frameworks please visit:





Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose UKFT – Welsh frameworks will be listed