28 Jun

Leicester’s Textiles Meet and Greet held at the Athena

Exhibitors at a Fashion and Textiles Event

Leicester’s Textiles Meet and Greet was held to provide a platform for the voice of the manufacturers. Raising the profile of the industry and commending the positive work and change for Leicester.

Leicester used to ‘clothe the world’ as a huge international exporter of textiles. However, as the industry began to globalise, Leicester has gone from a peak of over 1500 factories to 300. As the sector faced price pressures from increased global competition, wages and conditions has come under increased scrutiny.

The ‘Textiles Meet and Greet’ held on 16th June at Athena in Leicester, was a step towards highlighting the positives about the industry. Hosted by the Fashion and Textiles Academy (FTA), around 40 employees hosted stalls split across knitwear, design, garment makers, print and labelling. There was a mixture of education workshops for students and a fashion show, with attendees travelling from all corners of the UK to learn more about this industry.

The ‘Garment Cycle’ was once 4-6 months – the time between manufacture and an item of clothing appearing in shops. Turnaround is now closer to 2-3 weeks to keep up with the latest trends. Due to the demands of so-called ‘fast fashion’, there is an increased requirement for dedicated skilled workers.

The industry is keen to attract a more diverse workforce and the top skills required are technical and digital skills. Lots of roles are available in the sector, including:

  • Pattern cutting
  • Machinists,
  • Garment technologist,
  • Designers,
  • Pressers,
  • Examiners
  • Manufacturers
  • Print technologist
  • Knitting machine technician
  • Programmers

Not forgetting roles in generic areas such as sales, marketing, and order fulfilment.

The FTA is offering a range of apprenticeships and courses in Leicester to support young people into the industry.  These include Level 3 Fashion studio apprenticeship and a Level 4 in Product Technology. Local school and college students in attendance heard about careers progression and pathways offered by the sector.

There is a real desire to want to work with local students who are dedicated and keen to learn and an eagerness to keep Leicester the ‘heart and centre’ of textiles. The textiles and fashion industry is an area identified in the LLEP economic sector profiles. Read the full sector profile report here.

Find out more about the FTA and their offer for apprenticeships and training here.