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The Natural Fibre Company training supported by UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund


Bethanie Jenkins, aged 26 and a trainee dye technician and mill operative at The Natural Fibre Company, and Emma Smith, aged 27 and a marketing support executive, have both received in-depth dye training, with support from UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund.

The two young textile technicians completed the training with a Textile Consultant at The Natural Fibre Company’s mill in Launceston, Cornwall, gaining a full overview of how to use the Roaches Pyrotec 8 – colour development laboratory recipe testing machine, to make solutions and dye recipes, as well as using the dyeing tanks.

Bethanie Jenkins - Trainee Dyeing Technician The Natural Fibre Company YTTF 2

Bethanie (pictured above) had previously worked at The Natural Fibre Company so when she recently returned as trainee dye technician the training was a perfect opportunity to bring her up to speed and to standardise the method of in-house dyeing, utilising the Pyrotec 8 machine. She said the training allows her to colour match, provide colour samples and a more efficient way of dyeing.

“This process for the tanks produces better colour fastness also,” she explained. “Although I had an understanding of the tanks, I feel more competent with them now. I enjoyed learning all of the new processes and seeing the results from both the bath and the tanks.”

Emma Smith - Marketing Support Executive The Natural Fibre Company YTTF

Emma Smith (pictured above) studied Textile Design at Falmouth University specialising in woven textiles and interned at a mill in Scotland and in north Devon before joining The Natural Fibre Company and Blacker Yarns. She has always loved working with fibre and yarns and in her varied role, creates yarn ranges and colours for Blacker Yarns, along with generating social media, marketing material and packing/shipping online orders.

She said: “Although I was taught dyeing at University, I did not have the technical knowledge to upscale recipes in our tanks. I now feel confident, following the in-house training, to put together a dye bath and dye our beautiful yarns, with some help from my colleague, Beth. I also had no previous experience of using the Pyrotec 8 machine, we are now testing and creating recipes on samples of yarn.”

The training, with support from UKFT’s Young Textile Technician Fund, has helped her to be able to colour match samples and create unique recipes for customers, as well as for Blacker Yarns.

“Upscaling recipes and being able to replicate them in the future will benefit us as a small business,” she added.

Colin Spencer Halsey, CEO, said: “The Natural Fibre Company is a progressive business, and we proactively work with sector-specific organisations and support agencies. When we were made aware of the Young Textile Technician Fund, we sought guidance from our contact, Paula Mcilwraith, who has been extremely supportive throughout the process.

“This fund and the support of UKFT has enabled us to source a provider for dye and colour technical training, receive on-site technical training for three members of our team and to work towards our business objective of reopening the dye house, expanding our service offering and developing new skills for our people.”

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