Camira Fabrics

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Case Study: Camira Fabrics

Job title: Sample Centre Manager, Camira Fabrics
Industries: Fashion and Textiles

Camira Fabrics are leading the way in creating a new generation of skilled manufacturing workforce as early adopters of the Fashion and Textile Apprenticeships.

Working closely with the Fashion and Textile Group Training Association based at the Textile Centre of Excellence in Huddersfield supported by Creative Skillset, Camira Fabrics are in no doubt of the benefits for their company and local young people of apprenticeships.

Becca Joseph, Sample Centre Manager at Camira Fabrics, was instrumental in reaching out to local schools to engage young people in considering apprenticeships and also to gain a proper perspective of the work environment.

“In the past, Camira had formally interviewed apprentices and hired them but we found that after a month or so, the apprentices didn’t have a real understanding of the work involved and so they left,” said Becca.

Camira Fabrics then offered students the opportunity to apply for five days work experience as if they were applying for a job. “The work experience was in the school holidays so in their own time and it  showed to us they had the dedication rather than seeing it as a week out of school,” said Becca.  “We had seventeen students at the taster day and we then selected five for the work experience and moved them around the five different departments and got feedback from the managers.”

Camira Fabrics hired two apprentices, Cory Hurst and Alex Rank, in September 2013 to begin the Fashion and Textiles Level 2 Apprenticeship.  “The two lads we hired both showed an interest in all aspects of the company during their work experience, even in departments they might not end up working in. They asked questions and clearly had a willingness to learn,” said Becca.

Both apprentices are sixteen and are now working in the manufacturing side of Camira Fabrics and already running their own set of machine. The Textile Centre of Excellence assesses their work on a regular basis.

Becca believes that schools should be more open to employers and industry connecting with students to give them a true perspective of the working life.  “Often young people aren’t workplace ready and have no real understanding of what life is like outside of school,” said Becca. “Apprenticeships are great for young people particularly those that may not be traditionally academic and it is important that educational establishments offer this as an option rather than suggesting college or university to those who may not have the skills or the desire to continue with education.”

Camira Fabrics is in no doubt of the benefits of apprenticeships to their company, not only in ensuring that vital skills will be passed on and create a new skilled workforce but also in creating viable and career pathways for young people. Becca has plans for the future: “We have been so impressed by our apprentices that we are going to extend apprenticeships into the IT and supply chain aspects of our business.”

“We’ve already run another taster day and increased them from one day to four days as we had fifty seven students who were interested.” said Becca. “The application forms are now with them to apply for the five days work experience over the Easter holiday.  I would encourage employers to go ahead with apprenticeships but do it in a structured way so that you engage and get to know the person before you hire them.”