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Industry Talk

Addressing the UK’s skills gap

Textile technology bursary scheme to assist future specialists.

11th October 2023

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Leeds, United Kingdom

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

The UKFT is to manage a £670,000 bursary scheme to support 15 students studying the new three-year Textile Innovation and Sustainability BSc course at the University of Leeds.

Funded by the Textile Livery Group and other textile-related charities, the initiative aims to support the education of students with a keen interest in textiles to meet the environmental and social challenges of tomorrow. The bursary will cover 50% of student fees and provide a contribution towards living expenses. It is open to UK students enrolled on the new University of Leeds course starting in September 2024.

“This three-year programme, which also offers an optional industry placement year, will significantly lower the barriers to entry into the UK textile industry,” said David Collinge, representing the Worshipful Company of Weavers, which played a pivotal role in shaping the curriculum for the new course. “Our aspiration is for this course to become the ‘go to’ destination for textile employers seeking to recruit skilled and experienced textile technology graduates with industry-relevant expertise.”

The Textile Innovation and Sustainability BSc course will give students a deep understanding of sustainable textile materials, processes and products. The curriculum has been developed to address real industry needs, with businesses providing valuable placement and employment opportunities. Compulsory modules will provide a broad understanding of textiles, while optional modules will allow students to specialise depending on their career ambitions.

“The course has been tailored to address the skills gap in the UK textile industry, providing a new generation of textile technologists capable of innovating sustainable textile solutions to global environmental and social challenges,” saud UKFT CEO Adam Mansell. “With many industry technologists aged 55 and over, there is a real need for younger trained professionals to fill their shoes as they retire. The design and launch of the course has received widespread support from the UK textile industry.

 “Leading retailers, designer brands and textile manufacturers have emphasised the urgent need for this type of training in the UK. The course will equip future textile specialists with a comprehensive set of skills and experience to thrive in the dynamic UK textile industry.”

The course content will bring together responsible fashion, sustainable textile manufacturing, knitted textiles and processes, nonwoven products and processes, textile colouration and finishing, and technical textiles. Students will undertake a major research project in their final year.

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