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UKFT expands skills and training team


UKFT has expanded its skills and training team with the appointment of Celia Thornley as skills and training manager to work alongside John West.

Celia has been working with UKFT for the last year as a consultant and her full-time appointment will enable the association to continue its work tackling the pressing issue of the shortage of skilled workers in the UK fashion and textile industry.

Celia has worked in the fashion and textiles industry for over 35 years, managing apprenticeship development and delivery, National Occupational Standards (NOS) and sector-specific qualifications.

She was previously Head of Skills at the Alliance Project, involved developing and managing various initiatives designed to promote, develop and support sector skills and careers.

UKFT has made rapid progress in addressing the UK fashion and textile industry’s critical skills gap since it was appointed as the Fashion and Textiles Industries Sector Skills Body (SSB) by governments in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in November 2017.

In this time, the association has worked with the industry to develop 13 new apprenticeship frameworks in England including sewing machinist, pattern cutter, bespoke tailor, leather craftsperson, technical textile specialist and textile care operative, alongside a new Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) for bespoke cutting and tailoring.

UKFT has launched a new Apprenticeship Skills Analysis for employers, designed to provide advice, simplify documentation, cut down on red tape and facilitate links with sector training providers.

The association is now the external quality assurance provider (EQAP) for 10+ apprenticeship standards to ensure consistency and quality for fashion and textile apprentices and their employers

It has also launched the UKFT industry recognition programme, to review and ensure sector qualifications are applicable and necessary.

UKFT has also joined the panel that will develop the outline content for the new T Level for craft and design, which encompasses fashion and textiles.

UKFT CEO Adam Mansell said: “We are delighted that Celia is joining UKFT as we increase our efforts to address the UK fashion and textile industry’s urgent skills gap. Her experience will be essential in our work to raise the skills and productivity of the people who work in the fashion & textile industry to the highest level, ensuring the UK fashion and textile sector remains competitive against global competition.”