Lack of skills hampering renaissance of UK fashion industry

Posted on 10 May 2018 by Jonny Williamson

The greatest threat to the renaissance of British fashion is a lack of skills, according to Kate Hills, founder of Make it British.

The textiles group will move its Halifax nonwovens business, Texfelt, to a newly built facility at Cutler Heights, with a focus on creating recycled textile products for a range of industry sectors.
The greatest threat to the renaissance of British fashion is a lack of skills, according to Kate Hills, founder of Make it British.

“A common concern amongst manufacturers that I talk to on a daily basis isn’t finding more customers but finding enough skilled staff to keep up with the demand,” Hills explained.

“This is a wake-up call for the industry! If we don’t invest in training the next generation, soon there will be no British fashion manufacturing businesses left.”

Two thirds of UK manufacturers report that the average age of their workforce is over 40 and a key challenge is how to attract more young people into the industry.

This is according to a recent poll carried out by Make it British of over 100 UK manufacturers in the fashion and textiles industry.

Make it British Live! 

Skills and training will be high on the agenda at this year’s Make it British Live! when the UKFT (UK Fashion and Textile Association) will be teaming up with Make it British to curate a manufacturing skills exhibition at the two-day event on 23 – 24 May at the Truman Brewery, London.

This comes as the UKFT has appointed its first ever skills and training manager.

The exhibition will highlight the work being done to support a new generation of skilled talent to enable UK manufacturers to thrive and will include a skills consultation area with UKFT’s skills and training specialists.

A key feature will be the UKFT Made It project, which aims to improve the production and sourcing skills of the UK’s fashion graduates.

Creating a working collaboration 

UKFT’s Made It, supported by Marks and Spencer, brings together the artistry and skill within British manufacturing and the emerging design talent from UK universities, to create a working collaboration.

The pieces on show include the student’s British-made designs for the high street from Falmouth University, University of Leeds, Nottingham Trent University and University of Salford and manufactured by John Smedley, Discovery Knitting, Stoll GB and Sour Grape.

Alongside the exhibition and as part of its ongoing mission to bring industry and education closer together, the UKFT will launch its Academic Membership and the UKFT Masterclass series, which aim to improve the production and sourcing knowledge available through our academic institutions.

Now in its fifth year, Make it British Live! is the only 100% British sourcing event and includes a symposium and trade show with around 200 exhibitors.

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