Textiles: Industry

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 24th February 2015.

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Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what plans he has to support skills development in textile manufacturing.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour, Huddersfield

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what plans he has to support innovation in textile manufacturing.

Photo of Matthew Hancock Matthew Hancock Minister of State (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills), Minister of State for Portsmouth, The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change

Support is available to textile companies through a number of national initiatives such as the Business Growth Service, and through the Growth Hubs which are now being established across England by Local Enterprise Partnerships.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has invested in the Textiles Growth Programme through £12.8 million from round 4 of Regional Growth Fund (RGF). The programme, which is available for textile manufacturing companies across England (excluding London) will enable the UK to take advantage of a rapidly emerging trend for the re-shoring textile manufacturing and help grow the home and overseas markets in clothing with the Made in Britain mark. The Textiles Growth Programme, through the recent RGF Round 6, was awarded an additional £19.5 million on February 12th to provide continued support to manufacturing companies within the sector until end of March 2017. This brings the total RGF funds awarded to the Textile Growth Programme in support to the textile industry to £32.3 million.

On Government support for skills, there is already a wide range of textile, fashion and design provision available at levels 2 and 3 (including access courses) in further education colleges. There are currently apprenticeship frameworks, both intermediate level 2 and advanced level 3, in Fashion and Textiles. There were 170 starts in 2013/14.

In line with apprenticeship Trailblazer reforms we have given the fashion industry approval to develop an apprenticeship standard for a fashion studio assistant, and the level 3 apprenticeship standard is currently in development. The British Fashion Council is fully engaged in this work, and is considering a bid for support to develop higher level apprenticeships, possibly to degree level.

BIS awarded Huddersfield & District Textile Training Centre (Textile Centre of Excellence) £2.28 million under the Round 1 Employer Ownership Pilot (EOP) to improve education of the industry including a programme of school engagement; encouraging employers to take on school leavers and graduates and develop a new pre-apprenticeship programme plus new apprenticeship model at level 2 and level 3. The project recorded a range of successful outcomes, and the Centre of Excellence will continue to provide its services to the sector now EOP project funding has ended.

In Q4 last year, two Textile projects were approved through the Local Response Fund Scheme with a total value of over £253,000.

Manchester College was awarded nearly £180,000 to develop the Textiles Task Force. It will work with the Alliance Project to address immediate skills shortages reported across the textiles sector and to support workforce development and employee progression.

NWTexnet was also awarded over £75,000 for “Dynamic Portfolio Management”. This will enable the integration of new product development with a strategy for re-shoring manufacturing capacity. It will significantly rationalise the approach to product development and manufacturing in the sector while helping to up-skill staff so that the workforce is in place to take advantage of these re-shoring opportunities.

As part of the Sector Mentoring Fund, Manchester Economic Solutions Ltd was awarded the sum of £77,500 in January 2014 to deliver Mentor Tex – Textile industry mentoring programme in key areas such as Greater Manchester, Lancashire and Yorkshire. The scheme has attracted interest from a wide range of textiles businesses, with 35 mentees identified of which 23 have completed full profiles, 10 mentors identified with 7 completing full profiles.

With regard to support for innovation, Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency and the prime channel through which the Government stimulates and supports business-led technology innovation. Companies in the sector can apply to its responsive support programmes such as Smart and Innovation Vouchers.

The Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield and the University of Leeds have already invested £6M and £4.2M, respectively, in textile infrastructure development and innovation. They have become a focus for skills training and technical and design innovation in the UK.

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