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14th May 2018, London

UK fashion industry suffers from lack of skills

Skills and training will be high on the agenda at this year’s Make it British Live! event, which takes place from 23-24 May at the Truman Brewery London. The UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) will be teaming up with Make it British to curate a manufacturing skills exhibition, which hosts around 200 exhibitors.

The greatest threat to the renaissance of British fashion is a lack of skills, according to Kate Hills, founder of Make it British, the campaign to encourage more people to buy British and manufacture in the UK.

Skills and training will be high on the agenda at this year’s Make it British Live! event. © 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. This is a wake-up call for the industry,” she said. “If we don’t invest in training the next generation, soon there will be no British fashion manufacturing businesses left.”

UKFT Made It project

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. 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. 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.

Kate Hills, founder of Make it British. © Make it British

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.

Supporting businesses

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.

“It is vital that our growing UK manufacturing sector has access to a pipeline of skilled talent. The exhibition will highlight the work that UKFT is undertaking to support businesses by bringing in a new stream of motivated employees, improve the image of the sector to new entrants and to provide flexible routes into a wide variety of job roles,” commented Adam Mansell, CEO, UKFT.

Make it British Live! takes place from 23-24 May at the Truman Brewery London. © Make it British

Adds Nigel Lugg, Chairman, UKFT, noted: “The UK has some of the best designer graduates in the world and some of the most talented manufacturers – Made It brings them together. The project helps to ensure the success of the next generation in understanding the business of fashion, which is a fundamental part of UKFT’s purpose and key whether you are developing a new brand, working with manufacturers or growing business overseas.”

www.makeitbritishlive.com

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