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Occupational Traineeships

An Occupational Traineeship is a flexible, work-based route to help young people to develop the required skills and experience to fast track into a specific career within the UK fashion and textile industry. An Occupational Traineeship has a specific vocational focus.

It is for 16–24-year-olds or 25 year olds with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) who have a reasonable chance of being ready for work in six months. However, the young people should be vocationally focused on a particular occupation, rather than looking for more general work experience and training.

The course is approximately ten weeks in duration and includes the four core elements of a general traineeship: work preparation training; a work experience placement; English, maths and digital skills where needed; and flexible vocational learning.

However, unlike a general traineeship, the content is tailored to support progression into a particular apprenticeship or job. This includes specialist training delivered by vocationally experienced tutors with appropriate use of specialist facilities.

Trainees will gain both the knowledge and on-the-job experience needed to help tackle skills shortages across the sector.

UKFT has developed a new Occupational Traineeship for manufacturing sewn and textile products. The model aims to make candidates ‘job ready’ and reflects our industry’s skill gaps and shortages. The qualification and training is fully funded by The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). It is the first type of training of this kind available for our sector. Find out more below.

Get Involved

To find out more about how you can get involved in Occupational Traineeships contact skillsandtraining@ukft.org

Occupational Traineeship for Manufacturing Sewn and Textile Products

Why now?

The UK’s fashion and textile industry has flourished in the past five years and forecasts predict continued growth and a positive long-term outlook for fashion and textile manufacturing in line with the rise of the ‘Made in the UK’ marque. However, this resurgence is threatened by an unprecedented skills crisis, which puts the future of fashion and textile manufacturing in jeopardy.

Skills issues have been consistently highlighted in industry reports over the last 20 years and most recently in UKFT employer surveys as the UK builds back from Covid-19 and Brexit. All stress the sector struggles to maintain the current skilled workforce levels and attract, recruit, and retain the future workforce.

The development of a domestic workforce is critical and the fashion and textiles industry now, more than ever, needs to urgently address skills and recruitment issues. Essential focus is required on raising the sector profile, recruiting young workforce, retention, and training, to ensure a future, skilled talent pipeline is in place to help the UK fashion and textile manufacturing sector to thrive.

What will the candidate achieve?

The trainee will achieve a Level 1 Award in Sewing and Textiles (120GLH)

The key elements within this occupational traineeship model is the Level 1 Qualification in Sewing and Textiles. This qualification requires 120 guided learning hours and offers options from a range of units, allowing insight into the following occupational areas:

  • Garment /sewn product manufacture
  • Footwear manufacture
  • Household/interior textiles manufacture
  • Machine maintenance
  • Upholstery & soft furnishing manufacture
  • Quality Control


Key elements


  • Introduction to the sector
  • Types of employment and progression in the textile industry
  • Health and safety in the workplace
  • Introduction to industrial sewing machines and equipment
  • Industrial manufacturing techniques
  • Employability/workplace behaviours


  • English, maths and digital


  • At least 70 hours’ work experience with an employer


Where can the traineeship lead?

The aim of this traineeship is to support young people to gain skills and experience that will enable them to progress directly to jobs or apprenticeships.

Progression routes could include:

  • Level 2 Sewing Machinist Apprenticeship
  • Level 2 Textiles Operative Apprenticeship
  • Level 2 Footwear Manufacturer Apprenticeship
  • Level 2 Material Cutter Apprenticeship
  • Level 2 Leather Craftsperson Apprenticeship
  • Employment
  • Further training


Want to find out more?

Get in touch at skillsandtraining@ukft.org

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