Textile Machinery Technician

The Job and What's Involved

As a textile machinery technician (or textile technician), you would set up, service and repair mechanical and computer-controlled machinery used in textiles manufacturing. Your key duties would include:

  • Preparing and setting up equipment for operatives, either manually or by programming settings.
  • Responding to sudden breakdowns during a production run.
  • Diagnosing problems quickly and fixing faults on site (where possible).
  • Reassembling and testing machinery to make sure it is safe to go back into production.
  • Carrying out planned maintenance, for example checking circuitry.
  • Cleaning, oiling and greasing machinery.
  • Recording work in detail and informing shift managers of progress.

You could work on the machines used at every stage of the production process, from fibre preparation, spinning and fabric construction through to dyeing and finishing.

You would work between 37 and 40 hours a week, typically on a 24-hour shift pattern. You would usually be based in a factory environment which could sometimes be noisy. You would wear safety clothing and footwear on the factory floor.

You may need to travel to other parts of the country to visit equipment suppliers or to attend workshops on new machinery.

Starting salaries are between £18,000 and £21,000 a year.
With experience this can rise to around £25,000.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

You will find the greatest concentration of textile related jobs in regions such as the East Midlands, the North-West, Yorkshire, and parts of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Vacancies and training opportunities are usually advertised in local and national newspapers, Connexions centres, Jobcentre Plus offices, and industry publications. Some employers and associations have online job sections.

Education and Training

To start as a technician apprentice (with a textiles or clothing manufacturer), you are likely to need four GCSE's (A-C) in subjects such as maths, English, science, engineering, design and technology.

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.

An alternative way to prepare for this work would be to take a BTEC National Certificate or Diploma in a subject such as

- Electrical Engineering
- Mechanical Engineering
- Operations & Maintenance Engineering

You could also take a City & Guilds in, for example:

  • Electrotechnical Technology at levels 2 and 3.
  • Engineering Level 3.

Check with course providers for further details and entry requirements.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Once you are working in the industry, you could take NVQ Level 3 in Manufacturing Textiles, which includes options in:

- Servicing textile machinery and equipment.
- Monitoring equipment performance.

You could also take other NVQ qualifications, such as:

  • Mechanical Manufacturing Engineering levels 2 and 3.
  • Engineering Maintenance and Installation Level 2.
  • Engineering Maintenance (Mechanical) Level 3.

You could go on to work towards higher-level qualifications, such as the BTEC HNC/HND in Fashion and Textiles, which covers production operations, management and research.

If you complete a Level 3 qualification, such as an NVQ or BTEC National, you could apply for registration as an engineering technician (EngTech) with the Engineering Council.

Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A textile machinery technician needs:

  • A high level of technical knowledge and strong practical skills.
  • Good problem-solving skills.
  • The ability to work alone and as part of a team.
  • The ability to follow set procedures.
  • Computer skills.
  • Good communication skills.
  • A sound knowledge of health and safety regulations.

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Your Long Term Prospects

With experience, you could specialise in areas such as quality control, research and development, or move into a supervisory or management post.

Get Further Information

British Textile Technology Group (BTTG),
Unit 14 Wheel Forge Way,
Trafford Park, Manchester M17 1EH
Tel: 0161 873 6543
Website: www.bttg.co.uk

Engineering Council UK (ECUK),
246 High Holborn, London WC1V 7EX
Tel: 020 3206 0500
Website: www.engc.org.uk

North West Texnet,
The i-zone, Deane Road,
Bolton, Lancashire, BL3 5AB
Tel: 01204 374840
Website: www.nwtexnet.co.uk

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
Tel: 020 7713 9800
Website: www.skillset.org

Textile Centre for Excellence, Textile House,
Red Doles Lane, Huddersfield HD2 1YF
Tel: 01484 346500
Website: www.textilehouse.co.uk

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

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