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Maximising efficiency at John Spencer: UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund


Three young textile technicians from Burnley-based weaving company John Spencer have undertaken in-depth training to enable optimum performance and maximum efficiency from the firm’s knotting and warping machines, with support from UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund.

Jason Lambert 1 YTTF John Spencer

Jason Lambert at John Spencer


Jason Lambert and Jonathan Rodwell both received training on the firm’s Staubli knotting machine, while Mitchell Mason received training on a new state-of-the-art warping machine from Comsat.

John Spencer chairman David Collinge said: “The long-serving knotting machine technician from Staubli is going to retire very shortly and so we thought it was a good idea to improve the skills of the next generation before he goes. Jason and Jonathan are both experienced in knotting but the training in the maintenance of the machines should help us reduce our dependency on the machinery manufacturers to keep the machines in working order and to repair breakdowns as quickly as possible.”

Jason, who has been with John Spencer for four years, explained: “After the training now we can fix any day to day issues, which works really well for the company. Instead of calling out engineers, we can fix it in house which saves so much down time.”

Jonathan Rodwell 2 YTTF John Spencer

Jonathan Rodwell at John Spencer


He and Johnny work on separate shifts, which means the company now has cover at any time of day.

Jonathan, who joined John Spencer 13 years ago and has worked his way into his current role, said: “We learnt how to strip the machine down and repair it and it’s great to know exactly how it works. It means we are more efficient and because we can do more servicing, it won’t break down as much.”

David explained that John Spencer has recently installed a new state-of-the-art warping machine from Comsat so a representative from the Spanish company came to John Spencer’s Burnley mill to do the installation and training.

Mitchell Mason YTTF John Spencer

Mitchell Mason at John Spencer


Mitchell, aged 21, is new to the industry and has been working at John Spencer for just a year. He said: “I learnt a lot from the training and now I have a much better idea of how to run the machine.”

David added: “Mitchell has not been with the company very long but has shown great promise. To be able to get funding to include him on the training programme for the operation and maintenance of our new machine has been a wonderful opportunity to increase his knowledge and skill base.”

John Spencer has been operating in Burnley for 150 years and serves a wide array of niche markets with woven fabrics for blankets, curtains and cushions, through to ballistic stab vests, firefighter suits, taekwondo suits, composite bearings, suiting, baby slings, prestige car seating and mattresses.

The Young Textile Technician Fund will cover 50% of the costs of in-depth training for young textile technicians, thanks to the generous support of The Worshipful Company of WeaversThe Worshipful Company of Clothworkers and The Worshipful Company of Drapers.

The Young Textile Technician Fund is now open to businesses applying to train textile technicians under the age of 30. To find out more, email paula.mcilwraith@ukft.org