Digital Technology, Sustainability, Innovation: New Textiles Courses Launched

Education partners across the Future Fashion Factory network are launching new postgraduate and professional development courses to address skills gaps across the fashion and textile industry.

Developed by listening to the needs of employers across our network of industry partners and the wider sector, new programmes at the University of Huddersfield, Textile Centre of Excellence, and University of Leeds have been shaped to equip fashion and textile professionals with the skills and innovation mindset they need to succeed.

A new Masters programme, MSc Textile Sustainability and Innovation, launches at the University of Leeds in autumn 2020. With technology and sustainability at its heart, the programme will focus on equipping students to develop innovative textile solutions that will address the environmental and social challenges facing the global fashion and textile industries.

In addition to the role of textile and apparel technology, students will gain advanced knowledge of product development and manufacturing processes.

Colour forecasting and fashion industry analysis are among the optional modules available to give students a broader understanding of the industry.

“Future Fashion Factory is looking to develop new groundbreaking manufacturing technologies that will shape the global industry and create jobs and sustainability in the UK,” says Professor Chris Carr, Head of the School of Design at the University of Leeds.

“A key component in that innovation is education and we are focused on providing industry with graduates that have the knowledge and imagination to deliver that ambition”.

Meanwhile, the University of Huddersfield is gearing up for the start of its MSc Product Innovation with Textiles in September.

This course will develop an in-depth understanding of textiles and how this can play a significant role in innovation across many market sectors, while giving students a broad and deep understanding of how innovation and sustainable practices can work together to meet new industrial and societal challenges.

It will explore the reasons for innovation, how to structure research and development projects, how to exploit innovation through developing case scenarios, how to protect intellectual property.

Professor Parik Goswami, Director of the Technical Textile Research Centre at the University of Huddersfield, consulted extensively with commercial partners when developing the new course.

“We are excited to be launching this all-new MSc course which we have specifically designed to meet the needs of prospective employers,” he explains, “and to give the next generation of product development scientists and researchers the skills, knowledge and understanding to have successful and impactful careers.”

“We are also very grateful to have the support of The Clothworkers’ Company and are proud to announce two £10,000 Clothworkers’ Bursaries, which can be applied for by UK/EU students for our September 2020 intake”.

Skills and education are at the core of Future Fashion Factory’s vision for the UK fashion industry, equipping designers, manufacturers and professionals alike to embrace innovative new technologies and maintain their competitiveness on a global scale. As well and undergraduate and taught postgraduate programmes, our partners are supporting PhD students in a range of different disciplines and shaping the next generation of industry apprenticeships.

A student in high-vis jacket looks through the window at textile machinery

The Textile Centre of Excellence is developing and piloting courses aimed at increasing awareness of digital technologies within businesses, and supporting those companies to identify where these tools could help solve their challenges and facilitate growth:

Industry 4.0 Awareness: an introduction to big data and artificial intelligence (AI), predictive maintenance, optimised production systems, the Internet of Things and more.

Industry 4.0 Training Module: an introduction to digital manufacturing that can be taken as a stand-alone course or integrated into an apprenticeship.

Industry 4.0 Top Team Workshop: helping company managers to identify the digital technologies that address their key business challenges, creating a digital plan tailored to the needs of each business.

Industry 4.0 Training and Consultancy Package: this service enables businesses to benefit from expert support to implement their company plan.

Bill Macbeth OBE, Managing Director of the Textile Centre of Excellence, notes that UK manufacturers are not introducing digital technologies as fast as their global competitors. 

“We know that most companies are aware of the potential benefits of digital technology to reduce lead times and stock holdings and to optimise the efficiency of their production processes, but for many it’s hard to know where to start,” he adds. 

“That’s why we’ve developed these new short courses which provide clear explanations of how various technologies can improve business performance and build stronger customer relationships, and where to find the expert help and financial support that is available locally.”

If you would like to find out more about these industry 4.0 courses, please email Bill Macbeth.