Textile technologist job

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Simon James is a textile technologistbased in London. His role is to make sure that customers can buy clothes manufactured from the latest and most innovative fabrics.

What does your textile technologist job involve?

Part of my job involves working with overseas manufacturers to develop exciting new fabrics for the next season's garments. Developing contacts within textile manufacturing is important to keep up to date with new technologies. I do this by visiting manufacturers, fabric fairs and other High Street retailers.

Liaising with fabric testing houses is another part of my job, as all fabrics must meet the highest standards. I also visit fabric mills overseas to find new suppliers and check that they are complying with these standards.

Are there any other aspects to your textile technologist job?

I also monitor stock quality using customer feedback. I need to ensure the fabrics we use meet our performance standards, for example, for colour fastness, tear strength and durability. This involves liaising with industry experts and dyeing and finishing technologists.

What hours do you work?

I start at around 8.30am and finish at 6.00pm. I can work longer hours when I'm overseas. I usually travel overseas about six times a year.

What is the working environment like?

I work in an open-plan office alongside other members of the team, which is light, spacious and airy.

Who do you work with?

Our team comprises a garment technologist, a merchandiser and a product developer, as well as the manager. Two administrators provide valued support.

What personal qualities and skills do you need to work as a textile technologist?

As well as a strong background in textiles, commercial awareness is essential, along with good analytical and leadership skills. A background in science, particularly chemistry, is useful.

Why did you choose this textile technologist job?

The sciences were my favourite subjects at school and I love clothing and fashion.

What about the training?

My training lasted two-and-a-half years, beginning with a six-month period spent shadowing an experienced technologist. During the next year I was given more responsibility, dealing with customer service returns and visits to suppliers. In the final six months my role developed to that of a normal technologist, with responsibility for running the department.

Do you use any special equipment?

Computers are at the centre of our work and I also use some fabric analysis equipment, such as a magnifying glass to examine fabric construction.

What do you enjoy about your textile technologist job?

There is great satisfaction when you have developed a major order for fabric which is then manufactured into popular garments.

Is there anything you dislike about your textile technologist job?

Overseas travel can be very demanding. On returning to the UK office, there is usually a backlog of work to catch up on.

What are the main challenges?

This job has a lot of responsibility, as I must always ensure the quality and range of new fabrics meet our high performance standards.

How do you see your future?

I would like to become an industry expert within the same company, progressing to head of technology.

Simon's route to his textile technologist job

  • A levels in chemistry, physics and mathematics.
  • Degree in Textiles Technology and Management.
  • Part-time retail work whilst studying.
  • Textile technologist – current position.

Simon's textile technologist tips

  • Try to develop leadership and team skills, perhaps through sporting activities.
  • Choose science subjects at school or college, particularly chemistry.
  • Retail experience is a great advantage as it helps to develop customer awareness.

Textile technologist related jobs

  • Leather technologist
  • Quality control inspector
  • Retail buyer
  • Textile designer
  • Textile dyeing technician
  • Textile technician

Salary of a textile technologist

  • A trainee graduate textile technologist might earn from £14,000 to £20,000.
  • This could rise to between £25,000 and £43,000 with experience, rising above £50,000 for those in senior positions.

Textile technologist job

  • A degree in textile technology is essential. Courses with strong science content provide the best background.
  • Textile science and technology degree courses often require A levels/H grades in maths and either chemistry or physics, or equivalent qualifications.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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