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UKFT scheme supports textile technician at Pennine Weavers

Feb '20
(L-R) Danny King, Former Apprentice, Pennine Weavers; Gary Eastwood, Pennine Weavers Managing Director; Pic: UKFT
(L-R) Danny King, Former Apprentice, Pennine Weavers; Gary Eastwood, Pennine Weavers Managing Director; Pic: UKFT
Last year, Danny King, a former apprentice working at specialist commission weaver Pennine Weavers, became the first recipient of UKFT’s young textile technician fund to undertake a 2-week residential course focused on Dornier rapier weaving machine in Germany. UKFT’s scheme is open to companies with textile technicians under the age of 30 across the UK.

As companies such as Pennine Weavers have invested in new textile technology, the requirement for highly skilled textile technicians has never been more important but this type of in-depth training is not currently available in the UK. Training is carried out by machinery builders at overseas training schools and due to its specialised nature, is extremely expensive.

King, who worked with Pennine Weavers for the past four years, studied through the Textile Centre of Excellence to gain his Level 3 NVQ and was awarded the centre’s Apprentice of the Year 2017.

UKFT secured support from The Worshipful Company of Clothworkers, The Worshipful Company of Drapers and The Worshipful Company of Weavers to match-fund 50 per cent of the costs of in-depth training for young textile technicians.

“The training made me much more confident in being able to fix specific areas of the weaving loom and I feel my knowledge of the looms has improved a lot,” said King, aged 23. “I feel like now I can do a lot more, alone, to get the weaving machine to run efficiently producing quality cloth.

“The training provided by Dornier in their factory, by their best technicians has given me the confidence and knowledge to bring back to Pennine to help keep us at the top of the league of commission weavers in the world, he added.

“Without the support and funding of the UKFT scheme I might not have had the opportunity to have this detailed level of training.”

“While we’re immensely proud of having one of the most highly invested weaving plants in Europe, we recognise the real success of the business is down to the unique skills and commitment of our employees. It is really important to us to make sure the next generation of operatives have the skills to maintain our position as a world leader in our field,” said Pennine Weavers managing director Gary Eastwood.

“King has returned from the training with a much wider knowledge of our loom. His technical skill base has increased, and he is much more confident in taking on difficult, very technical problems on the loom,” added Eastwood.

Eastwood said the process of applying for the funding was very straightforward. “It was simple and efficient,” he said, and added he would consider applying for the fund again for employees that meet the qualifying criteria.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (PC)

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