Nearly 40 years since the once booming textile industry of Manchester, England, began to go bust, the city has found itself at the center of a manufacturing revival as demand for British-made clothing grows.
But decades of decline have resulted in a dearth of skilled workers to fill the 4,000 new jobs—including 1,500 sewing machinist vacancies—that Manchester’s textile employers expect to create over the next 10 years.
To combat the shortage, the Alliance Project, a nonprofit organization established to examine the potential for repatriating textile manufacturing to the U.K., is hosting the Textile Teashop Roadshow in the greater Manchester area this summer in a bid to entice workers back into the trade.
Six drop-in events will take place across the city throughout June and July, aiming to promote the sector’s career openings—with immediate vacancies for sewing machinists, weavers, cutters, textile operatives and sample machinists as well as supervisory, management and professional positions—and discuss re-training and apprenticeship opportunities over a cup of tea and slice of cake.
Actresses Jennie McAlpine and Sair Khan, whose characters on the British soap opera Coronation Street work in an underwear factory, will front the campaign and make an appearance at the first Textile Teashop on June 20.
The greater Manchester textile industry currently employs 11,300 people, generating 650 million pounds (about $995 million) for the local economy.