Garment Technologist

The Job and What's Involved

As a garment technologist, you would support design and buying teams through all stages of product development, from design to manufacture.

You could be employed by a garment manufacturer or a large high-street retailer.

Your responsibilities would include:

  • Suggesting modifications to designs if necessary.
  • Advising on suitable fabrics.
  • Making sure that the most appropriate construction methods are used.
  • Making sure garments can be produced within budget.
  • Overseeing fabric testing and fittings of first samples.
  • Responding to product queries.
  • Analysing product returns and faults.

You would work closely with other staff such as designers, pattern cutters and graders, and buyers.

You would work around 38 hours a week, but may sometimes need to do extra hours, for example to make sure collections are produced on time.

You would be office-based, but would travel to meet with customers and suppliers and visit manufacturers. This would often include visiting overseas manufacturers, for example in the Far East or Southern Europe.

Starting salaries can be between £16,000 and £18,000 a year. With experience this can rise to £25,000 or more.

Senior technologists can earn around £50,000.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

Most jobs are with manufacturing and retail companies in the fashion industry. You could also be employed in companies producing technical textiles, such as those used in uniforms for the armed forces and emergency services.

Education and Training

You would usually need a degree in a subject related to garment technology and production. Some courses combine garment technology with fashion design. Universities offering relevant courses include:

- De Montfort University, Leicester
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- Birmingham City University
- Cleveland College of Art and Design

Any work experience you gain during your study will be an advantage when you start applying for jobs.

To search for fashion and textile-related courses and degrees, visit the UCAS website. You should check with the individual colleges and universities for their entry requirements.

You may be able to get into this job through an Apprenticeship scheme. The range of Apprenticeships available in your area will depend on the local jobs market and the types of skills employers need from their workers.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

You would usually start in a junior role (in garment technology, product development, quality control or buying), and add to your practical skills by on-the-job learning. This is a crucial part of your career development.

You could also develop your knowledge and skills by completing relevant qualifications including:

  • ABC Level 2 Certificate in Apparel, Footwear, Leather or Textile Production.
  • ABC Level 3 Diploma in Apparel, Footwear or Leather Production
  • ABC Level 3 Certificate in Apparel Manufacturing Technology
  • Foundation degrees in subjects such as fashion and clothing technology.

You can gain professional recognition by joining the Textile Institute (TI) and applying for qualifications on three levels: Licentiate, Associate and Fellow.

The TI also runs conferences, seminars and short courses.

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You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A garment technologist needs:

  • Knowledge of production methods such as stitching and pattern-cutting.
  • An understanding of manufacturing processes and textile properties.
  • A strong interest in fashion and clothing retail.
  • The ability to work alone or as part of a team.
  • The ability to work under pressure and meet tight deadlines.

Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could progress to senior technologist or technical manager.

You may also be able to move into research within a university or similar institution.

Get Further Information

Textile Institute,
1st Floor, St James's Buildings,
Oxford Street, Manchester M1 6FQ
Tel: 0161 237 1188
Website: www.textileinstitute.org

Skillset Careers,
Tel: 08080 300 900 (England and Northern Ireland)
Tel: 0808 100 8094 (Scotland)
Tel: 08000 121 815 (Wales)
Website: www.skillset.org/careers

Skillset,
Focus Point, 21 Caledonian Road,
London N1 9GB
Website: www.skillset.org

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