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UKFT scheme supports young textile technician at Pennine Weavers


Skilled weaving training made possible through UKFT’s young textile technician fund

The first young textile technician to receive a grant to attend an in-depth training course in Germany through UKFT’s young textile technician fund said he would recommend the course to anyone in the weaving industry to improve their technical skills and knowledge.

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.

As companies such as Pennine Weavers have invested in new textile technology, the requirement for highly-skilled textile technicians has never been more important but this type of in-depth training is not currently available in the UK. Training is carried out by machinery builders at overseas training schools and due to its specialised nature, is extremely expensive.

King studied through the Textile Centre of Excellence to gain his Level 3 NVQ and was awarded the centre’s Apprentice of the Year 2017.

UKFT secured support from The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers, The Worshipful Company of Drapers and The Worshipful Company of Weavers to match-fund 50% of the costs of in-depth training for young textile technicians.

“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.

“Without the support and funding of the UKFT scheme I might not have had the opportunity to have this detailed level of training.”

Pennine Weavers managing director Gary Eastwood said: “While we’re immensely proud of having one of the most highly invested weaving plants in Europe, we recognise the real success of the business is down to the unique skills and commitment of our employees. It is really important to us to make sure the next generation of operatives have the skills to maintain our position as a world leader in our field.”

He said: “Danny has returned from the training with a much wider knowledge of our loom. His technical skill base has increased and he is much more confident in taking on difficult, very technical problems on the loom.”

Eastwood said the process of applying for the funding was very straightforward. “It was simple and efficient,” he explained, and added he would consider applying for the fund again for employees that meet the qualifying criteria.

UKFT’s scheme builds on the success of other match-funded technician training programmes and is open companies with textile technicians under the age of 30 across the UK. To find out more details or to apply, please contact martin.jenkins@ukft.org.