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Bespoke textile engineering apprenticeship developed in West Yorkshire


A bespoke Level 3 apprenticeship training course for textile engineering technicians has been developed in West Yorkshire to meet the future needs of the industry.

Calderdale College has partnered with the Textile Centre of Excellence (TCoE) and the British Textile Machinery Association (BTMA) to develop the course over two years in collaboration with a number of local textile companies.

Starting in September 2023, it will help to close the skills gap in the region with a clear focus on engineering maintenance in the textile sector.

The new course launch closely follows the success of Calderdale College’s Collaborative Apprenticeships project. Launched in 2022, it has seen the college engage with over 100 local employers to date around the benefits of increasing the quantity and improving the quality of the apprenticeships that they offer, as well as of introducing apprenticeships for the first time.

Claire Williams, Head of Employer Engagement at Calderdale College, said: “Over the years, we’ve seen how beneficial apprenticeships can be for several sectors, particularly in terms of helping businesses to retain staff and ensuring that they have a steady flow of skilled workers coming in.

“Having identified that employers in the textile manufacturing industry were struggling to find apprenticeship training that was designed around their needs, we knew that alongside employers and our partners, we needed to satisfy this critical gap in the market. We hope that this programme will act as a leading example for the rest of the industry to follow.”

Martin Jenkins, Director of Training at the Textile Centre of Excellence, added: “This programme will fill current and future skills gaps within the industry, in a specialised skill base that the sector has struggled to fill for many years. For the first time, it addresses the needs and complexities of both the textile and engineering sectors. Having already had a close working relationship with the BTMA and Calderdale College, collaborating on this hybrid apprenticeship was a natural fit. We’ve already seen a high level of interest from both apprentices and employers, and cannot wait to get started.”

Jason Kent, CEO of the British Textile Machinery Association, said: “When developing this programme, we wanted to ensure it was as collaborative as possible, not just between ourselves, Calderdale College and the Textile Centre of Excellence, but also with the employers directly benefitting from its delivery. We are really proud of the end result, which is a truly industry-led course that will provide exciting and fulfilling career paths for young people, as well as bolstering the sector with additional technical expertise and skills.”

To find out more about the apprenticeship support offered by Calderdale College, please email apprenticeships@calderdale.ac.uk.