Industry professionals must become more knowledgeable about the world around them if they are to succeed in today's competitive marketplace. And education is one way of improving professionalism and the overall success of the textile sector.

These comments were made by Lord Haskel in an address to textile industry representative from across the UK. He was speaking at The Textile Institute's annual Parliamentary Lunch held at the House of Lords.

He said: "In our industry, creativity is essentially based on skill and talent. Without education and training, our skill base would be sorely diminished and the creativity on which the industry depends would vanish.

"Today we have to be more professional. We have to look above and beyond the traditional definition of our work. The skills that we need today are not only technical knowledge, but also a knowledge and understanding of the wider community in which we work. The environment in which we all live. The human, personal and employment rights of the people with whom we work. The governance of our organisations."

Lord Haskel added: This is an enormous agenda requiring a broad range of knowledge. But these are typical of the ever-increasing demands made on people working in business and industry today. We ignore them at our peril."

Lord Haskel, who was created a Life Peer and took the Labour Whip in October 1993, is Liaison Peer with the Department of Trade and Industry and makes regular speeches about the textile industry in the House of Lords. He is also a member of the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology.