A £300,000 training academy is to be set up in the heart of Leicester’s troubled textile industry.
The city council is to establish the Leicester Fashion Technology Academy (LFTA) in Spinney Hills where many of the city’s clothing manufacturers are based.
The council is working with training provider Fashion Enter Ltd and clothing company Ethically Sourced Products Ltd on the scheme.
There are more than 1,000 garment workshops in the city which has the second-largest concentration of textile and fashion manufacturing businesses in the UK.
The sector has been in the spotlight over the last year over concerns about worker exploitation by some textile bosses and the Government and city council have been involved in a war of words blaming each other for issues.
The council says it is working to improve conditions in the industry locally and recognise its importance to the city economy.
The pilot project will offer apprenticeships and accredited training for people working in the local textiles industry.
The new academy, based on the top floor of Ethically Sourced Products’ factory premises in Stonebridge Street will also work closely with local textiles and fashion manufacturing businesses.
Deputy city mayor Cllr Adam Clarke added: “This builds on the work we have done since the city mayor formed the Leicester Labour Market Partnership in 2019, with the specific aim of working with our partners to tackle problems, raise standards and highlight best practice in the local textiles industry.
“We look forward to seeing this innovative training centre in operation in Leicester, as soon as current circumstances will allow.”
City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said: “Leicester has a long and proud history of textile manufacturing and we want the industry to play an important and positive role in the city’s future.
“We have some fantastic textiles businesses in the city.
“Many are working with leading fashion brands and retailers and together they employ thousands of people.
“However, many businesses have told us that they struggle to recruit workers with the right skills.
“We also know that many local workers want to develop their skills and progress within the industry.
“Establishing this new training academy with leading experts in the field is an exciting way of supporting the fashion and textiles industry in Leicester and helping ensure that local workers have the best opportunities to develop their skills and careers.”
The new textiles training centre will be operated by Fashion-Enter Ltd, a specialist technical skills training provider.
The not-for-profit social enterprise based in both London and Newtown, Wales, is recognised as a centre of excellence for the development of skills in the fashion and textiles industries.
Fashion-Enter set up an academy north London in 2015 and Leicester will be the second city it has launched such an operation.
The new academy will offer people the opportunity to work towards entry-level qualifications in industry skills including pattern-making, fabric inspection, laying and cutting, machine maintenance and stitching.
People can then work towards advanced certificates and progress onto one of Fashion-Enter’s apprenticeship schemes for retail/retail employers.
Director of Fashion-Enter Jenny Holloway said: “ We have worked with Leicester over the last five years and we know what a major cluster of garment manufacturing there is.
“We now have a unique opportunity to create a quality-based hub that will engage with retailers and manufacturers to create a new generation of highly trained specialists. These are exciting times indeed.”
Richard Olley, owner and managing director of Ethically Sourced Products Ltd, said: “The launch of the Leicester training centre will give real practical help not only to manufacturers looking to recruit new, or upskill existing employees, but to members of the community wishing to enter the industry”.
The new Leicester Fashion Technology Academy is planning to open in early summer, following refurbishment of the new premises.
Published at Thu, 14 Jan 2021 04:52:30 +0000