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Arts & crafts

Textile operative

Textile operatives spin natural and synthetic material into yarns and fabrics for use in clothing, furnishings and industrial products.

Annual Salary

£16,500 to £24,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

41 to 43 a week

You could work: between 8am and 6pm; on shifts

Future employment

There will be 0.9% fewer Textile operative jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

In this job, you will:

  • set up machinery and programme instructions
  • operate machine looms that knit, weave and loop threads together
  • prepare fibres and make sure they are combed, cleaned and twisted into yarns
  • spin fibres and wind them onto bobbins or cones
  • monitor production and report any problems
  • do quality checks
  • treat fabrics to make them stain or crease resistant
  • make sure machines are ready for handover to the next shift
  • keep production areas clean

Working environment

You could work in a factory or in a workshop.

Your working environment may be noisy.

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could do a college course, which may help you when you start looking for work. Courses include:

  • Level 1 or Level 2 Certificate in Textiles
  • Level 2 Certificate in Fashion and Textiles

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 or fewer GCSEs at grades 3 to 1 (D to G), or equivalent, for a level 1 course
  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D), or equivalent, for a level 2 course
For more information

You could start by doing a textile manufacturing operative intermediate apprenticeship.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
For more information
Direct application

You can apply directly for work. There are no particular requirements although experience in textile manufacturing or sewing machinist work will be helpful.

More information

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You could move into a machine maintenance job or quality control after further training. With experience, you might get promotion to become a production supervisor then shift manager.

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to operate and control equipment
  • the ability to work well with your hands
  • the ability to work on your own
  • knowledge of manufacturing production and processes
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
  • observation and recording skills
  • physical skills like movement, coordination, dexterity and grace
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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