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12th September 2012, Huddersfield

Skills drive for growth in UK fashion and textiles


The UK government announced yesterday over £2 million worth of support for a new skills programme led by a consortium of employers and the Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield that will improve the skills of people already working and develop the next generation of skilled talent for these industries. The partnership includes manufacturers from textiles, technical textiles, apparel and textile services sectors, trade associations and Creative Skillset.

 Commenting on the announcement Paul Johnson, Managing Director of WT Johnson and Sons Cloth Finishers and Chair of the Creative Skillset Fashion & Textiles Skills Council said:

“The Government invited industry to take the lead in designing and delivering the skills training required for their businesses to compete more effectively.  This proposal clearly demonstrates that our industry has heard, and has responded to that challenge.  Given the resources, we will create new partnerships with schools, introducing new pathways for ambitious young people to take up rewarding careers and enabling our businesses to succeed in high value markets around the world”.

 Company leaders are said to have worked with sector bodies to create an ambitious and innovative new approach that will develop technical expertise and business acumen.

 “We are delighted to be strategic partners in this bid”, Creative Skillset’s chief executive, Dinah Caine, said.

“We were very pleased to have supported its development and congratulate the industry and the Textile Centre of Excellence for their success. This project offers bold and innovative proposals. It will enable businesses of all sizes to attract and train bright new talent to drive growth and secure on-going international competitiveness in Fashion and Textiles, whose contribution is key to both the Creative Industries and Advanced Manufacturing.”

The Textile Centre of Excellence Managing Director, Bill Macbeth welcomed the news, saying:

“This project will bring about a step change in the level and quality of training in the sector, demonstrating new models for public investment. Our project includes practical new ideas for working with education, attracting and preparing industry entrants, developing Apprenticeships and creating new opportunities for increasing technical knowledge”.

In the first round of the Employer Ownership Skills Pilot initiative, government, through the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, invited companies to design more effective ways to improve skills in the workforce to drive productivity and growth. A second round of the initiative is expected later this year.

Creative Skillset is a licensed Sector Skills Council for the Entertainment Media, Advertising, Publishing and Fashion and Textiles. It aims to help the UK Creative Industries to be world-beating by leading the sector’s skills and talent drive. It is an industry-owned organisation that actively involves trade unions, professional bodies and other stakeholders to address skills issues.

The Employer Ownership Skills Pilot, launched on 7 February 2012 is jointly funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Education and routes public investment directly to employers so they can design and deliver more flexible training packages. Employers are expected to provide co-funding.




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