A Blender is involved in a specific process of manufacturing textiles; they create a blend, which is then spun into yarn. The yarn then goes to produce textile fabric and materials. They need to be practical, focused and be able to work alone or as part of a team.
What would you do?
A Blender mixes raw fibers such as wool or nylon to produce the blend of fibers required. They will select the right quality and quantity of cleaned fibres to ensure the mix is correct. The fibres are mixed in large ‘hoppers’. A Blender must monitor the hoppers and ensure they are full and may use mixers, scales and meters to blend the fibres correctly. The blended fibres are then stored ready to go to the next process. The work is physically demanding as it involves lifting.
Day to day tasks include:
- Sorting and selecting raw textile fibre, using scales and meters
- Checking quality and removing defective fibres
- Reading and following work specifications and documentation
- Replenishing ‘hoppers’
Where would you work?
Medium or small textile manufacturing businesses typically employ Blenders. The job is usually based in the production area of a factory or workshop. The textile-manufacturing environment is typically well lit and well ventilated, but can get very noisy and ear protection is required.
What would you be paid?
For a typical working week of approx. 39 hours, extra shift allowance is often available
Blenders starting salary on average is £12,000-£14,000 per year
An experienced Blender salary on average is £16,000-£20,000 per year.
Pay rates vary depending on age, experience, location and the size of the company. Additional benefits may include, pension and health care. Many companies offer overtime, bonuses in order to meet deadlines.
Textile Manufacturing Operative Apprenticeships (including Blender): Employers, by law must pay the government’s apprenticeship minimum wage rate. Research show that many textile employers supplement this rate of pay. https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage-rates
Will you need qualifications or training?
Experienced is preferred, however employers are keen to train new textile manufacturing operatives and qualifications are not required. Training is delivered on-the-job, either on the production floor or in a training section. Employers may also register new trainees onto the Level 2 Textile Manufacturing Operative Apprenticeship
Qualifications relating to the Textile manufacturing operative are available via ABC Awards, City & Guilds, SQA and Pearson
What are the career prospects?
With experience and training, a Blender could progress into machine maintenance, quality control or a textile technician position. Or move into technical management, textile technology, supervisory or staff training.
How secure is the future of this career?
The UKs world-class textile manufacture base is growing, thriving and continually investing. Sector employment continues to grow steadily from 97,000 in 2011 to 108,000 in 2016, with an added 19,500 self employed and research estimates the creation of 20,000 new jobs by 2020.
The number of UK textile & apparel manufacturing businesses has increased annually from 7190 in 2013 to 8075 in 2017 with forecast of further growth.
Textile goods exported across the globe continues to grow with export increases recorded at £250M in March 2016 to £273M in March 2017.
UK Fashion & textile manufacture covers traditional craft to technical textile and has a production value of £9.1 BN, add the wide fashion sector this increases to £28.1 BN sector – 4.7% of the total UK economy.
Where can you find job vacancies?
Vacancies are advertised across the UK with concentration in the Northwest, Yorkshire, Scotland and the Midlands. This role may be found under a different job title such as Textile Operative or Textile Manufacturer. Check out the latest vacancies sites below:
Textile Manufacturing Operative Apprenticeship vacancies:
Some apprenticeship vacancies are ‘open to application’. With details on how to apply within the job vacancy details, these can be found on the job sites listed above. Apprenticeship vacancies can also be found via the Find an Apprenticeship’ Service. For further information, advise and tips on how to apply for an apprenticeship vacancy see the UCAS site apprenticeships–in-the-uk.
www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales)
The websites above are external and the number of job vacancies may vary. Check daily to see new opportunities as they are posted!
See websites associated to the Blender job role below:
The Textile Institute
The Lancashire Textile Association
The Textile Society