Making It in Textiles
On 11th and 12th October 2016, over 100 final year textile design students and a number of their tutors attended this two-day event in Bradford. This was the third such conference (the first having been held in October 2014) with its aim to forge stronger links between education and the UK textile manufacturing industry. The event was a joint project between The Campaign for Wool
, The Clothworkers’ Company, The Drapers' Company and The Weavers’ Company
The idea behind the conference is that students no longer have the opportunity to learn about the textile industry first-hand by talking to manufacturers and seeing industrial production.
There is a skills and talent gap in the textiles industry. The UK industry is experiencing a resurgence and this is creating jobs. However, there are only a finite number of pure design roles available. Textile companies need young people with a range of skills who are interested in building on their design expertise to work in areas such as manufacturing, quality control and marketing.
The event comprised a half-day plenary conference where industry leaders talked about the opportunities on offer in the sector.
In addition, a panel of past textile graduates reflected on their career journeys and offered advice on entering the industry.
This was followed by visits the next day (in separate groups) to six local textiles mills for a tour of their production facilities.
Feedback from the students and tutors was once again very positive, with many explaining that they would not have been able to organise a similar opportunity for themselves and how it had widened their knowledge of textile production.