Textile technologists are responsible for sourcing the correct fabrics that are fit for the purpose such as crease resistance or water resistance. They perform quality control tests and experiment with dyeing and production processes.
You could be:
- researching and sourcing new synthetic fibres and fabrics
- testing fibres, yarns and fabrics for properties such as strength, colour fastness or crease resistance
- working with chemicals to give fabrics special qualities such as waterproofing
- managing and controlling production techniques and machinery
- using computers to develop new processes for textile machines
- supervising a team of textile operatives and textile technicians
- working with one type of material, such as cotton, synthetics, wool or carpet textiles
- working in different areas such as textile production, quality control, sourcing or researching and development.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organization you work for
- the demand for the job.
Starting salaries can be around £18,000 to £22,000 a year, rising to between £25,000 and £35,000 with experience. Those in a management role can earn up to £40,000 a year or more.
- You will usually be based in an office within the production facility.
- You will spend a lot of your time in a laboratory testing fabrics.
- You will also work in a textile factory where it may be warm, humid and dusty though most modern factories have good ventilation and dust extraction systems.
- You may wear protective clothing due to noise and working with chemicals.
- You may have to work shifts.
Workforce Employment Status
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- A relevant degree is normally required. Suitable subjects include textile science or technology, maths, physics or manufacturing engineering.
- Heriot-Watt University (Scottish Borders Campus) offers a BSc Hons in Fashion Technology. For entry you require 4 Highers at ABBB including English plus National 5 Maths.
- Glasgow Clyde College offers an HND in Fashion Technology. For entry you require 2 Highers; or a relevant NQ or relevant experience.
- If you have a Higher National Certificate (HNC) or Higher National Diploma (HND) in manufacturing engineering or similar, you may be able to start as a textile technician and move on to textile technologist after further training and experience.
- You may be able to get in by doing a Modern Apprenticeship Fashion and Textiles Heritage at SCQF Level 5 or 6/7.
What Does it Take?
You need to have:
- excellent communication and organisation skills
- good IT skills
- a creative, methodical and accurate approach to work
- a knowledge of production processes and textile fabrics
- an excellent eye for detail.
You need to be able to:
- lead a team of workers
- solve problems and come up with new ideas
- take responsibility
- prioritise your workload.
- Initial training would be on the job with new technologists learning from their more experienced colleagues.
- If you are training on a Modern Apprenticeship you would do on the job training and study block or day release classes at college.
- You might then take the professional qualifications of the Textile Institute (TI). There are three levels: Associateship (CText ATI), Licentiateship (CText LTI) and Fellowship (CText FTI).
- After gaining experience you may go into technical management, production and quality control.
- Large companies may offer management training schemes for textile technologists.
- You could perhaps move into general management, research and development, or technical sales and marketing.
- You could work on a self-employed basis, providing consultations to different companies.
- You may find work in the UK or abroad with textile manufacturing companies and research organisations.
Starting in September 2019, the UK Fashion and Textile Association (UKFT) is reviewing the qualifications in Scotland.
- the National Occupational Standards for: Footwear, Leathergoods and Leather Protection; and Manufacturing Textile Products/Manufacturing Sewn Products, and
- the Modern Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles Heritage, including the addition of a new pathway - Bespoke Cutting and Tailoring.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
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