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Meet the Team

Who are we?

UKFT’s skills and training team has more than 100 years of combined experience in fashion and textile skills provision.

John West, Director of Skills & Training

John West

John has extensive expertise in sector-specific skills development and delivery, with experience of working within the industry, further education, and the skills system. He has managed various Fashion & Textiles Courses, the East Lancashire Centre of Vocational Excellence and numerous Sector Skill Council contracts, including the development of National Occupational Standards, Qualifications, skills policy and Apprenticeship Frameworks across the UK. John now works at a more strategic level and is responsible for apprenticeship quality assurance, qualification review, policy writing, stakeholder relationship management and overseeing development and delivery of the new the Fashion and Textiles Apprenticeship portfolio.

Celia Thornley, Skills & Training Manager

Celia Thornley

Celia has worked in the fashion and textiles industry as an employee, an employer and an educator. Initially working as a Training Supervisor within apparel manufacture, Celia became a qualified trainer and assessor for Kingscourt, the training arm of the industrial training board (CapitB) and later transferred to the Sector Skills Councils, managing apprenticeship development and delivery, National Occupational Standards (NOS) and sector-specific qualifications. As an independent consultant she has written and delivered widely recognised practical industry training programmes, developed the new apprenticeship standards for the stitching industry, externally moderates current qualifications, and her work as Head of Skills at the Alliance Project involved developing and managing various initiatives designed to promote, develop and support sector skills and careers

Martin Jenkins, Project Manager

Martin Jenkins

Martin’s background and experience in textiles span 23 years, covering skills and apprenticeship development, business and sales management. Martin has overseen client engagement across textile manufacturers for the last ten years, working as a Senior Manager at the industry’s Centre of Excellence before joining the team at UKFT. He has extensive knowledge of the skills landscape and works as the interface between business and government funding. Martin is a qualified Tutor/Assessor and Quality Assurer of textile qualifications and led the national trailblazer apprenticeship developments across textile manufacturing disciplines. He successfully led his previous organisation through 3 OFSTED inspections as the lead nominee and has managed Government funded provision for over ten years.

Alice Burkitt, Skills & Training Consultant

Alice Burkitt

Alice has significant experience in industry and skills support agencies. She has been employed by a number of well-known fashion brands and now in addition to her skills consultancy, runs her own tailoring business. Whilst working for the Sector Skills Council delivering employer engagement, skills need analysis and provider assessment, Alice provided information, advice, and guidance in relation to training, apprenticeships and skills to businesses across London. She has co-ordinated and been involved in various fashion and textiles projects and initiatives including the development and delivery of production masterclasses in universities across the UK and assessment of training provision in relation to the Creative Skillset kitemark, a quality-stamp which assessed and awarded courses that met employer demand.


To get in touch with the UKFT Skills & Training team, please contact skillsandtraining@ukft.org