UKFT is piloting an occupational traineeship in Greater Manchester and Lancashire for job roles in manufacturing sewn products and manufacturing textiles (fabric). The model aims to make candidates ‘job ready’ and reflects our industry’s skill gaps and shortages. The qualification, and training is fully funded by The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and employers involved receive £1,000 per trainee to cover the cost of the placement.
What is an Occupational Traineeship?
An Occupational Traineeships is a flexible, work-based route to help young people to develop the required skills and experience to fast track into a specific career within the UK fashion and textile industry. An occupational traineeship has a different focus to a general traineeship.
It is for 16–24-year-olds or 25 year olds with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) who have a reasonable chance of being ready for work in six months. However, the young people should be vocationally focused on a particular occupation, rather than looking for more general work experience and training.
The course is approximately 6 weeks in duration and includes the four core elements of a general traineeship: work preparation training; a work experience placement; English, maths and digital skills where needed; and flexible vocational learning. However, unlike a general traineeship, the content is tailored to support progression into a particular apprenticeship or job and is based around apprenticeship standards. This includes specialist training delivered by vocationally experienced tutors with appropriate use of specialist facilities.
Trainees will gain both the knowledge and vital on-the-job experience needed to help tackle skills shortages across the sector, which will be vital as we build back from the pandemic.
This pilot also gives local employers access to a new talent pipeline, both for the workforce they need today and in the future.
English, maths and digital
Introduction to the textile sector
Types of employment and progression in the textile industry
At least 70 hours’ work experience with an employer
What Qualification will the trainee achieve?
The Level 1 Award in Sewing and Textiles (120GLH)
The key element within this occupational traineeship model is the Level 1 Qualification in Sewing and Textiles. This qualification requires 120 guided learning hours and offers options from a range of units, allowing insight into the following occupational areas:
Garment /sewn product manufacture
Household/interior textiles manufacture
Upholstery & soft furnishing manufacture
Where can the traineeship lead?
The aim of this traineeship is to support young people to gain skills and experience that will enable them to progress directly to jobs or apprenticeships.
Progression routes could include:
Level 2 Sewing Machinist Apprenticeship
Level 2 Textiles Operative Apprenticeship
The UK’s Fashion and Textile industry has flourished in the past five years and forecasts predict continued growth and a positive long-term outlook for fashion and textile manufacturing in line with the rise of the ‘Made in the UK marque. However, this resurgence is threatened by an unprecedented skills crisis, which puts the future of fashion and textiles manufacturing in jeopardy.
Skills issues have been consistently highlighted in industry reports over the last 20 years and most recently in UKFT employer surveys as the UK builds back from Covid-19 and Brexit. All stress the sector struggles to maintain the current skilled workforce levels and attract, recruit, and retain the future workforce.
The development of a domestic workforce is critical and the fashion and textiles industry now, more than ever, needs to urgently address skills and recruitment issues. Essential focus is required on raising the sector profile, recruiting young workforce, retention, and training, to ensure a future, skilled talent pipeline is in place to help the UK fashion and textile manufacturing sector to thrive.
This is a pilot scheme co-ordinated by UKFT, with the support of training providers Salford College and Blackburn College and the Department for Education. If successful, we aim to roll this out to more regions and job roles.