Blog: Leonie BarrieTeaching scientists to knit

Leonie Barrie | 9 November 2006

A recent invitation to a prize-giving ceremony hosted by The Drapers Company in London set me thinking about the work that livery companies are still doing to further their particular trades through student bursaries and scholarships. And what an achievement it is that they’re still going strong after all these years; a testament to the ability of these most ancient of organisations to embrace modern skills and professions.
 
If you’re not familiar with them, let me explain. Today there are 107 livery companies in the City of London, with titles that reflect the diverse industry we once had here in the UK. Not all are related to textiles and clothing, of course, but those that are include Clothworkers, Cordwainers (workers in fine leather), Curriers (dressers of tanned leather), Drapers, Dyers, Feltmakers (hats), Girdlers (girdles and belts), Glovers, Merchant Taylors, Needlemakers, Pattenmakers (makers of wooden clog-style footwear), Weavers and Woolpackers (winders and packers of wool).
 
Most have been around for centuries and were granted Charters to take responsibility for the commercial/trade standards in the City. Most livery companies no longer control their trades, but many still administer the Charitable Trusts that have been left in their care over the centuries. And I’ve got first-hand experience of the wonderful support and encouragement they give to young people coming into the industry, winning a student bursary many years ago from The Worshipful Company of Framework Knitters.
 
Anyway, back to The Drapers’ Company, which has come up with a novel way of tackling an age-old problem: skill shortages in British industry. As one of the oldest City of London Livery Companies (it has a history spanning 650 years) it hopes to encourage young people into one of the newest textile fields – technical textiles – through a venture with education/business link charity The Industrial Trust. So far more than 1,200 young people have visited technical textile companies and another 500 students have broadened their knowledge of extreme materials with the help of Leeds and de Montfort universities. An annual awards programme has also been launched.
 
The Drapers Company does not go quite as far as the Jesuits who famously said: “Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man.” But it certainly thinks that if it can catch the eye of a 14-year-old it might just attract him (or her) for life.


BLOG

US border tax a contentious issue

Fresh from their disappointment at seeing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) free trade deal abandoned last month with an executive order by President Donald Trump, the US apparel and footwear sector...

BLOG

Primark's sustainable cotton programme takes shape

With the ultimate aim of ensuring all the cotton in its products is sourced sustainably, value clothing retailer Primark is adamant that having a business model focused on offering the lowest prices o...

BLOG

Trump administration starts to shake up trade

Last week we marked the inauguration of Donald Trump as the 45th president of the United States by taking a closer look at what's at stake for the textile and apparel trade – especially his promises t...

BLOG

Likely shifts in the sourcing landscape in 2017

Continuing our look at what lies ahead for the apparel industry and its supply chain in 2017, the panel of industry experts consulted by just-style last week tackled likely shifts in the sourcing land...

just-style homepage



Forgot your password?