What are your priorities when you think about starting a career? Aside from money, most people hope to have a career that they find satisfying and that allows them upward mobility to continually challenge themselves to learn more and more. Some people hope to start work right away. While a university degree has a lot of merits, it takes time to earn one. Some people prefer to learn kinaesthetically, so a career that emphasises on-the-job training or an apprenticeship is appealing. The textile industry is in need of skilled fabricators who are passionate about their work.
Textiles are important for many consumer products. Industrial textiles are need to produce equipment that allows people in many industries to do their jobs well. Fishermen need boat covers, pest control providers need fumigation covers, and construction workers need tarps. Businesses need high quality banners to advertise their products and car manufacturers need covers for seats and interiors. What each of these industries has in common is that they want the highest quality products available and they can only get those if the individuals working as fabricators are highly trained.
In order to become a textiles fabricator, it isn’t necessary to have any particular degree. Many companies will hire ambitious young people as apprentices. However, there are also many certificate programs that can prepare you to succeed in the textile industry. These programmes focus on technical skills that support development and design of textile products. Many programs also teach maths and computer programming as both of these skills are increasingly necessary in this field. The other important factor is communication. Not only does a textile fabricator need to communicate well with their peers and supervisors, it is important to be able to communicate with suppliers and clients as well in order to ensure that you are creating the product to the correct specifications with the correct materials.
As you study, certain personal requirements will become obvious. You’ll need to have good hand-eye coordination and be able to concentrate on one project for an extended period. You’ll need to be a problem-solver in order to troubleshoot on a project when things don’t seem to be going well. You’ll need to be good with numbers in order to understand design expectations.
Whether you choose to begin your career with a programme of study or an apprenticeship, you’ll still spend a lot of time working with experienced fabricators. The longer someone has been working in the industry, the more knowledge they acquire. While most fabricators will have a general knowledge base of all the departments in the company and be able to work on any projects that their company has, there are opportunities to specialise in particular fabrics, products, or design styles. This knowledge is most easy accrued through experience. If you were interested in designing welding curtains or ventilation ducts for mining operations, you would want to apprentice with someone who has been creating those products for at least five years. That individual will have developed the ability to assess quality textiles and will know how to treat that fabric so that it doesn’t get damaged during the process of developing the product.
You will not be stuck in one job as a textile fabricator. There are many types of products that you can design, and in a large company, you will likely be able to apprentice with a number of designers. There is also room for upward movement if you are interested in leadership positions. As you pay your dues as a new fabricator, your communication skills and initiative will set you apart as a leader. A supervisor in a textile company has many responsibilities. You’ll schedule shifts, assign projects, communicate with fabric suppliers and clients, train new employees, and keep records. Increased responsibilities generally result in higher salaries.
Most people who work in textile fabrication report a high level of satisfaction with their work. It’s satisfying to work in an industry where there is so much to learn on a daily basis, where there is upward mobility, and where you feel that you are challenged intellectually.
Although some textile companies are transitioning to more automated processes for some elements of production, there will always be a need for skilled fabricators who understand how to recognise and achieve quality products.