Burberry has opened a new Centre for Manufacturing Excellence in the UK, which the UK Fashion and Textiles Association says will improve training skills on the factory floor and help to ensure the industry remains competitive against global competition.

The centre opens today (10 February) in Castleford, West Yorkshire.

UKFT has delivered training to trainers and team leaders at Burberry to enable the delivery of a new, formalised industrial sewing machinist development programme, as well as providing practical techniques to refresh and expand the skillset of experienced sewing operatives.

It is part of a programme the industry trade body has executed to ensure the skills and productivity of people in the industry are at the highest level.

The association is working with employers, training providers and other stakeholders to address the critical skills gaps in the UK fashion and textiles industry, ensuring existing training is fit for purpose, as well as developing new routes into the sector. 

Lise Edwards-Warrener, VP of internal manufacturing at Burberry, says: "We have created some of our most iconic products in Castleford and Keighley in Yorkshire for over 100 years. We firmly believe in protecting artisanal skills, nurturing talent and investing in British fashion manufacturing through programmes including the Burberry Centre for Manufacturing Excellence.

"Partnering with UKFT has been key in bringing this initiative to life and we are proud of the impact the programme is already having, and will continue to have, on our local community."

Celia Thornley, skills and training manager at UKFT, adds: "We are delighted to partner with this iconic British luxury brand, which is committed to manufacturing here in the UK. Improving the training skills on the factory floor is key to ensuring that our industry remains competitive against global competition."