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Fashion Technology Academy Leicester – Supporting Leicester & its Garment Industry


On 25th July the Low Pay Commission (LPC) published its report on non-compliance and enforcement of minimum wage in Leicester Textile manufacturers. The report highlighted a disparity between enforcement bodies and findings from the low pay commissioners. There was acknowledgment that there was some good recent progress, however job insecurity, workplace culture and low expectations meant that abuse may not be being reported – this is not unique to Leicester but evident across the whole UK.

The positives in this report are encouraging –the fact that community groups, charities and NGO’s  are focusing on improving awareness of Employment Law and workers’ rights can only be applauded.

By August 2022 the Fashion Technology Academy in Leicester (FCFTA) will have delivered 175 qualifications to those in the local community, those that need it most; 108  of these qualifications are  SEG Level 1 award in Workers’ Rights and Labour Exploitation and 67 level 1 diplomas in Fashion and Textiles (Industrial Sewing).

For many of the learners this is the first qualification they have every received and the feedback from the course has been excellent. This has been Leicester factories investing in their workforce. FCFTA again through funding from LCC via the Community Renewal Fund have supported 44 businesses this year with compliance guidance and skills – therefore Leicester is a city that is working hard to change its image and has some excellent factories that are ethical, compliant and talented.  

At FCFTA our focus is also to encourage the next generation to embark on a career in the UK garment Industry via apprenticeship pathways. Boohoo have kindly donated levy money to cover the costs for 8 apprenticeship roles to support those in the local community  to fulfill their career ambitions.  

www.Leicestermade.co.uk  directory has also been recently created to showcase the cross section of talent that is available in Leicester today. On 16th June, again funded through the governments CRF programme the first Leicester made Meet and Greet was held at Athena in Leicester’s cultural Quarter – this was Leicester’s garment and textile industry standing proud and together.  

One Leicester Manufacturer said: “I am excited to see the future of Leicester Garment Manufacturing with you spreading the word and assisting vulnerable people to reach success.”

However, for the Leicester and UK garment industry to advance and thrive it needs commitment from brands and retailers to buy from the UK, as the LPC report stated job insecurity is key to making workers vulnerable. Inconsistent production, leaves suppliers and workers vulnerable as bad purchasing practices are often common place. Many organisations are working hard  to eradicate this behavior, however already this year the collapse of Misguided had a huge impact on Leicester manufacturers with many areas of the supply chain being left in precarious position as owed millions on made products through no fault of their own.

To drive a sustainable future, brands need to reconsider their Uk supply strategy and take advantage of the benefits of  onshore and close proximity production. This in return will fuel UK growth and create new jobs and skills in the Industry.

Leicester is a city with textiles running through its core, its been through some tough times, but it is resilient and is fighting back. The good businesses will weed out the bad ones – and with support from UK brands and retailers it can become a driving force in on demand production and continue to create new jobs and careers for those in the local communities.

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