What they do
Canvas goods fabricators lay out, cut, assemble and repair a wide range of heavy duty products made from canvas and synthetic fabrics. These products are generally rugged and designed for use in outdoor activities and may include tents, tarpaulins, vehicle covers, banners and backpacks. Designs are marked on material and cut in a way that minimises waste. When all the product parts have been cut and assembled, they are joined together using industrial sewing machines or, if working with PVC, hot air-welding equipment. Textile fabricators also attach and/or insert ropes, eyelets, grommets and any other necessary fastenings. They may also treat products with special chemicals to protect them from rotting, and water or UV damage.
Canvas goods fabricators employed in Western Australia generally work in factories and specialist workshops, such as sail lofts – these are usually located in the Perth metropolitan region. There may also be employment opportunities in other regions throughout the State, albeit limited. Self-employment opportunities may also exist, particularly for those specialising in repair work. As with all manufacturing processes, there is a risk of personal injury when working with machines - requiring safe work practices to be followed in order to minimise any risk.
Tools and technologies
Canvas goods fabricators may use hand-held shears, power cutters or precision computer-aided cutters to cut material according to a desired pattern. Industrial or lightweight sewing machines are usually used to join material, though some detailed work may be sewn by hand. Hot air-welding equipment may be used when working with PVC material. Many of these products are also treated with specialised chemicals, making them more resistant to environmental conditions.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a canvas goods fabricator without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by completing a relevant apprenticeship or traineeship.
You can undertake a traineeship in textile production (level 3). The traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete. You can also undertake an apprenticeship in manufactured textile products. The apprenticeships usually take 48 months to complete and is available as a school-based apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.