The UK apparel manufacturing industry is in high demand and a steady growth is predicted to continue, with multiple factors responsible – the rise of fast fashion demanding a responsive, local supply base; a rapid move towards demonstrating a transparent and ethical supply chain and an increasing consumer led demand for ‘Made in UK’.
Although the UK has a well earned reputation for high-end, small volume production, the sector also supplies high street retailers demanding higher production volumes and shorter lead times.
Across the UK, fashion manufacturing employs over 43,000 people within nearly 3,900 companies. In order to optimise on current opportunities, the infrastructure and workforce must expand accordingly.
The apparel manufacturing industry relies on skilled individuals, trained to a high level and research indicates there is a need for thousands of new entrants. The most in-demand roles are:
Fashion & Textiles Product Technologist
Fashion & Textiles Pattern Cutter
Other Apprenticeships: There are many other apprenticeships available that cover roles in the industry these include finance and accountancy, business administration, web development, logistics and warehousing.
Many businesses have traditionally relied upon informal training but it has now become easier and more effective than ever to bring people into these roles by using apprenticeships.
The industry has recently come together to ensure the training on offer is up to date and fit for purpose for these key roles. Three new apprenticeship standards have been developed and there are many more are in the pipeline.
Entering the industry through any of the apparel manufacturing apprenticeships can lead on to a wide range of opportunities across creative, development and management roles.
Learn industrial sewing skills and techniques that are fundamental across the numerous sewn product industries. This apprenticeship will provide a rewarding job or a progression route within the thriving fashion and textiles sector.
Set within an industry steeped in tradition, the leather trade supports the pursuit of excellence in its traditional craft skills whilst also embracing innovation and technology. The leather craftsperson is a fundamental occupational role in the leather trade and in a sector that contributes in excess of £700 million to the British economy. For more information see download on the left-hand side of the page.
Join a sector that forms the heart of the British apparel industry and has an international reputation. You will gain a wide range of expertise, learning craft, technical, creative and design skills that are fundamental to the iconic bespoke tailoring industry.
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Textile manufacturing in the UK has an international reputation for quality and heritage and it is an industry that is thriving and constantly developing, with textile innovation in the UK ranked number three in the world.
There are approximately 4,200 textile manufacturing companies in the UK who employ 65,000 people between them.
The majority of textile manufacturing businesses in the UK are SME in size but the scale of production is still significant, with total UK production value close to £6 billion annually.
In order to retain this global edge, the industry relies on formal apprenticeship training to ensure their workforce is skilled to the highest level. Apprenticeship training can be used to bring new talent into a range of roles including carding, spinning, twisting and warping.
In order to make sure their training remains up to date, the textile industry has recently come together to develop a new apprenticeship for a Textile Manufacturing Operative. Apprentices on the new standard would typically learn about or develop skills in:
Textile Manufacturing Techniques
Textile Machinery Operations
Textile Manufacturing Maintenance
Health, Safety & Welfare
How to interpret Data & Instructions
Collaboration & Adaptability
On completion of their training, an apprentice would be able to stay in production and with further training and experience they could progress into management, or one of many specialist roles across a range of textile sub sectors.
Over 3,500 UK businesses operate in textiles care services. This apprenticeship is the first step to progress within this well established industry which is operating in an increasingly technical environment.
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The British footwear manufacturing industry is highly regarded both in the UK and internationally, and supports the pursuit of excellence in its traditional craft skills whilst embracing innovation and technology.
There are roughly 4,000 people employed in the footwear industry in the UK with around half of them in manufacturing roles.
The UK has large footwear factories with extensive teams and departments, usually producing larger runs. However, the majority of footwear manufacturers work in small-scale operations, making specialist or bespoke/personalised footwear.
This part of the sector relies on well trained, highly skilled individuals and is increasingly turning to formal apprenticeship training to ensure new entrants have the manufacturing knowledge to safeguard the industry’s continued success.
The footwear industry has recently come together to develop a new apprenticeship in footwear manufacturing and the potential of a higher level bespoke shoemaker apprenticeship.
Footwear manufacturing apprentices learn to work quickly and accurately using hand tools, as well as technical equipment and machinery. They learn about all the processes needed to manufacture a piece of footwear including:
Skiving – thinning the material
Closing – sewing the upper part of the footwear
Lasting – forming the footwear
Attaching the sole
Finishing the footwear
Quality inspection and packing
When an apprentice completes their training, they may choose to stay in a production role. With further training and experience they can also progress to highly skilled, specialist craft roles, or management and development positions.
Learn leather craft skills whilst working in an industry steeped in tradition, yet embracing innovation and technology. The Bespoke Saddler role is fundamental in the saddlery trade – a sector that contributes over £8bn to the British economy annually.