What they do
Textile production workers use a range of machines and processes to produce fabrics, yarn and other textiles. Raw natural fibres, such as cotton and wool and synthetic fibres such as nylon and polyester, are combed, carded and drawn out into long strands, before being spun into yarn and wound onto special reels, called bobbins. Depending on the type of material or product, the yarn is then ready for weaving or knitting. In some cases, these processes can be performed manually by skilled craftspeople, however, most commercial manufacturers will use specialised machinery. The final steps in textiles production are dyeing and finishing, where fabrics and other textiles are coloured, have designs printed on them and are treated to keep them from shrinking, fading, wrinkling and/or soiling easily.
In Western Australia, textile production workers generally work in factories and workshops in the Perth metropolitan area, though there may be limited employment opportunities with small, boutique operations in other areas throughout the state. The work environment can be noisy and working with automated machinery is potentially hazardous, requiring safety procedures to be followed to minimise the risk of injury. Some of the dyes and chemicals used in finishing procedures may release strong, unpleasant odours, though workspaces will generally be well ventilated.
Tools and technologies
Most textile production workers work with specialised machinery used for spinning, weaving and knitting fibres and fabric. They may also handle dyes and other chemicals used in the finishing stages of production. Most employers will provide staff with hearing protection, such as ear plugs or ear muffs. Textile production workers may work with a variety of natural and synthetic materials, including cotton, wool, linen, polyester and spandex.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a textile production worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.
You may improve your employment prospects if you complete a traineeship in textile production (complex or multiple processes) (level 2) or textile production (level 3). The traineeships usually take 12 to 24 months to complete.
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.