Catastrophic Skill Gap in Tailoring & Manufacturing
“We’ve heard Sir James Dyson say that the lack of skilled engineers was the greatest barrier in the growth of his company, and property entrepreneur Will Davies has been drawing attention to skill shortages in the construction industry but the same thing will happen in the tailoring trade if we do not provide adequate apprenticeships and training routes for youngsters joining the industry,” said Mr Sleater.
“Britain has always led the world in bespoke tailoring and our craftsmen are still the envy of every other country but we need more talented youngsters to make the decision that ours is the industry they want to work in,” he added.
Sir James Dyson said that he could employ another 2,000 engineers tomorrow if only he could find suitably trained candidates. He said that the lack of skilled engineers in the UK was the greatest barrier to his company’s growth.
Jeremy Hackett, the founder of the quintessentially British brand Hackett’s, added further fuel to the fire when he stated that the British textile industry is incapable of making his “essential British kit”.
He said that while “Britishness” had never been more popular overseas, it was rare to find quality clothes that were made in this country.
While Britain has seen a return to some home-turf production larger companies say that at present the capacity doesn’t always exist to supply the quantity or quality required for the high street.
The answer to the problem, as the UKFT suggests, is to invest and to revive our once massive production.
“The government says that it is preparing to invest in infrastructure projects and home building. Where do they think the skilled tradesmen will come from?” said Mr Davies – who is the co-founder of aspect.co.uk and a long-term campaigner for a return to a traditional system of apprenticeship training.
“There are over one million young people outside education or training within the UK and yet many industries are facing daunting shortages of skilled craftsmen,” said Mr Sleater.
“We hear that there is an average of 11 individuals chasing every apprenticeship that is offered. We have to look closely at the quality and suitability of the apprenticeships on offer in the UK and make more of them available,” he said.
Smaller companies are manufacturing in the UK – much to the appreciation of countries like Japan and China, which can’t get enough of our British-made fashion products. Hopefully greater investment will allow greater capacity along with training, apprenticeships and a skilled work force to go with it.
Here at FashionCapital we are adamant to get the ball rolling in this growing sector, we offer hands-on training at our Fashion Technology Academy at our factory, provide apprenticeship opportunities with major retailers and in-house, as well as manufacture garments for the likes of ASOS.com. M&S and Finery London.