Textile technologists use their scientific knowledge to improve the making of textiles. They work in production engineering, production management, research and development, and quality control.
Also known as
- Cloth Technologist
Video: - Tim: Technical Manager
As a Textile Technologist, you will apply scientific and technical knowledge of production processes, to solve problems related to the manufacture of fibre, yarn and fabric. You usually supervise a team of Operatives and Textile Technicians.
There are a wide variety of roles for Textile Technologists within the textile industry. You are employed as Production Engineers, Production Managers, Computer Managers and Quality Control Managers. You might also work in research and product development.
Some Textile Technologists apply their technical knowledge indirectly in general management functions such as buying, selling and marketing. This involves working closely with suppliers and clients.
In production engineering and management, you will use your knowledge to advise on the selection and maintenance of machinery. You also carry out research to discover more efficient methods of production.
In quality control, you will usually carry out laboratory-based tests on yarn and coloured fabrics. For example, you test to see whether materials are colour-fast.
In research and product development, you will undertake research to find new ways of using yarns. You develop chemicals that may be added to fabrics to make them more waterproof, flame-resistant, mothproof or shrink-resistant.
You liaise with Designers, so that changes can be made to suit the production process. You also experiment with textiles to improve their look, feel, texture and durability. This may involve experiments with the dyeing process and testing new recipes for colours.
Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.
Personal Qualities and Skills
To become a Textile Technologist, you will need to:
- have a good knowledge of scientific subjects, such as chemistry and physics
- know about the properties of raw materials used in this industry
- have good IT skills
- be a well-organised person
- have problem-solving skills
- be a good communicator and have the confidence to make decisions
If you have skin allergies or sometimes have a problem with your breathing, you may be affected by the chemicals that you come into contact with.
Pay and Opportunities
The pay rates given below are approximate.
- Starting: £30,500 - £34,000
- With experience: £37,000 - £45,500
- Senior Textile Technologists earn £49,500 - £54,000
Hours of work
Many Technologists work a 39-hour week, Monday to Friday. Technologists working in a production environment may be required to work shifts and weekends.
Where could I work?
Employers are firms producing all types of textiles. Some small and medium firms specialise in particular areas of production, such as spinning or weaving.
Opportunities for Textile Technologists occur with textile firms in towns and cities throughout the UK.
Where are vacancies advertised?
Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.
Entry Routes and Training
An Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start. Take a look at our information article
It can also be useful to have a degree.There are a small number of relevant courses for people wanting to go into this profession.
The University of Manchester runs degrees in textile science and technology. The University of Kent runs a number of courses relevant to this career.
Degrees in chemistry and related subjects are also useful to enter this career. Graduates usually enter the textile industry as trainees or Junior Managers.
If you hold a foundation degree or HNC, you are likely to start as a Senior Textile Technician and act as a link between Textile Technologists and Junior Technicians. However, with experience, you may have the opportunity to gain promotion to a Technologist position.
A great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article '
Previous experience in industrial work would be really useful for this career.
Training will usually be on-the-job where you will be supervised by an experienced Textile Technologist.
Postgraduate courses relating to textile technology are also available at various universities throughout the UK.
Progression will often be to positions with greater responsibility and more supervisory duties.
To get onto an Advanced or Higher Level Apprenticeship, you will usually need at least five GCSEs at A* - C (9 - 4), including English and maths, and possibly two A Levels.
For entry to a degree, the usual minimum requirements are:
- 2 A levels, science subjects are useful
- GCSEs at grade C/4 or above in your A level subjects
- a further 2/3 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English, maths and a science subject
Other qualifications are often acceptable as alternatives to A levels, for example:
- BTEC level 3 qualifications
- the International Baccalaureate Diploma
However, entry requirements for different courses vary, so check university prospectuses for more details.
Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.
It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.
Practical skills gained in industrial work are often valued by employers.
Working as a textiles technician can lead to entry into technologist-level posts.
If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.
The University of Manchester offers postgraduate degrees in textile technology, by distance learning and by part-time study.
- 16% of people in this career are self-employed.
- 6% work part-time.
- 17% have flexible hours.
- 5% work on a temporary basis.
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