Luxury fashion brand Burberry has opened a new Centre for Manufacturing Excellence in Castleford as part of its investment plans for Yorkshire.
The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) will provide training to deliver a sewing machinist development programme to expand the skill set of Burberry's highly trained sewing operatives.
Lise Edwards-Warrener, VP internal manufacturing at Burberry, said: “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."
Burberry manufactures its world famous trench coats in Castleford and Keighley and is keen to invest in both sites.
Ms Edwards-Warrener said: “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 & training manager at UKFT, said: “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."
Developed in partnership with UKFT, the Burberry Centre for Manufacturing Excellence will be the first formalised training programme at Castleford.
Burberry said an increasing number of runway and fashion lines are being produced at Castleford which require a different skill set. The firm's Heritage trench coats are produced at Castleford, as well as select outerwear collections and bespoke projects.
"Upskilling and multi-skilling employees is in line with our commitment to manufacturing in the UK and Castleford and nurturing future talent with vital skills, development and training," said a Burberry spokeswoman.
The programme will include a "train the trainer" programme, which will equip team leaders with the skills needed to teach trainees. It will also provide training for new starters which will improve and standardise the skill level of trainees.
Burberry has plans to make further investment in its manufacturing operations in Yorkshire.
When asked if the group plans further investment in the region, the group’s chief financial officer Julie Brown said: “Absolutely – we remain committed to Yorkshire and the UK and continue to invest in our existing manufacturing operations in Castleford and Keighley.”
The firm said there has been further expansion to Burberry Business Services in Leeds, which has been boosted by the decision to move work from New York to Yorkshire.