Fashion designer, social enterprise director and judge of BBC2’s The Great British Sewing Bee Patrick Grant opened the Textile Academy last week, with many top employers and industry experts present at the prestigious event.
The Textiles Academy, based at Themis at Burnley College, has been developed by leading textiles, apparel and furniture manufacturers The Senator Group, Lantex Manufacturing and Stirling Moulding, who are working together to develop the workforce required to address current and future demand. These top East Lancashire employers will be instrumental in the ongoing development of the Textile Academy and its trainees.
Textiles in East Lancashire is a cutting-edge industry with a rich heritage, and it is in demand. It’s worth around £9bn to the UK economy, and generating year-on-year growth. According to government predictions, the sector could generate somewhere in the region of 15,000 new jobs by 2020.
The Textile Academy project has been established to provide valuable training opportunities and meaningful employment for local people. This, in turn, will enable local textiles employers to manage the skills gap much more effectively, training future employees in the bespoke skills they need for industry.
The Textile Academy itself is a bright, modern and inspiring space, fully equipped with high-spec equipment and machinery. The Academy also features completed products from The Senator Group, Lantex Manufacturing and Stirling Moulding to showcase the high level of skill involved by sewing machinists and technicians at the company.
To inspire trainees, the Academy’s cutting table and textiles area doubles as a resource bank. Learners can find out more about the fabrics and techniques they are developing as a member of the Textiles Academy, and how they are used to create finished products. They can also be inspired by a range of images and information about high-end textile manufacturing in both the upholstery and fashion industries and the career progressions routes with top local employers which they could embark on once their programme is completed.
Director of Themis Simon Jordan said:
“At its core, the Textile Academy is about skills, training and industry growth within East Lancashire. This area’s reputation and prosperity is founded on its rich heritage of textile manufacturing. Despite competition from overseas production, our businesses have continued to manufacture textiles for national and international markets. This is something to be proud of. The Textile Academy will ensure the industry in our county continues to thrive by providing a talented source of technically experienced workers and we’re proud at Themis at Burnley College to be able to help support this invaluable project.”
Hannah Bolton, HR Manager at The Senator Group said:
“As the UK’s largest manufacturer of corporate furniture based in East Lancashire, The Senator Group invests in the advanced skills of our local workforce to produce high quality products. The Textile Academy will encourage more enthusiasm for developing this vital craft in the North West, something we are very keen to support. We’re delighted to be a partner of the project and look forward to welcoming fresh new talent into our business.”