We're building a new service – your feedback will help us to improve it.

Textile operative

Textile operatives use machinery to spin natural and synthetic material into yarns and fabrics.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: 37 to 40 per week

1. Entry requirements

The best way to get into this career is to apply directly to factories where you'll be trained on the job.

You could take a textile course at college, but this isn't essential.

You may be able to start through an apprenticeship.

The Textile Institute runs short courses in clothing and textiles.

2. Skills required

You’ll need:

  • a methodical approach
  • practical skills
  • the ability to concentrate for long periods on repetitive tasks

3. What you'll do

You’ll work on computerised machinery to produce the fibres which go into products like carpets, clothing and furnishings.

You might also produce technical textiles like roofing, medical dressings or vehicle upholstery.

Your day-to-day duties could include:

  • dyeing, finishing and printing
  • fabric production, which involves knitting, weaving or looping threads together
  • preparing fibres, making sure they are combed, cleaned and twisted into yarns
  • spinning fibres and winding them onto bobbins or cones
  • treating fabrics to make them stain or crease resistant

4. Salary

Starter: £13,000 to £15,000

Experienced: £17,000 to £19,000

Highly Experienced: up to £25,000 (Senior textile operative or supervisor)

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

You’ll usually work between 37 and 40 hours a week, and may be on shifts.

Textile factories are light and well ventilated but can get very noisy.

You’ll spend most of your time standing, operating the machines in the production area.

You’ll wear protective clothing.

6. Career path and progression

With experience and training, you could move into a machine maintenance, quality control or technician role, or a supervisory role like shift manager or trainer.

Related careers

You may be interested in:

Last updated: 24 November 2017