The Manchester area has a tradition of association with the textile industry. However, the industry is in a decline and facing global economic challenges. Many small employers have the equipment but little knowledge of how to diversify. Small family run businesses were struggling to compete with the global economy in the textile trade. The TASk DP was created to help SMEs and their employees to adapt effectively to structural and economic change within the textile industry and improve the use of IT and other related technologies. Aims
The aim of the DP was to:
- Improve the supply of, and demand for, quality jobs with a future.
- Encourage the effective use of existing mechanisms to improve awareness of the factors leading to discrimination, inequality and exclusion in connection with the labour market.
The textile industry finds difficulty in recruiting employees due to its poorly perceived image. There is also high staff turnover and skill shortages within this industry and there seems to be no evidence of direct consultation with employees regarding skills/knowledge gaps. TASk aimed, through its activities, to enable these SMEs to adopt a range of changes in:
- Consumer behaviour
- Market economy
- Market conditions
TASk aimed to be original on many levels, including:
- Addressing cultural change issues never before addressed within this industry.
- Training provision tailored according to the needs of the target group.
- Inventive training programmes to tackle skills shortages more effectively, which link to existing provision via partners.
- A ‘holistic’ approach to skills and training which deals with sector needs as well as the wider community.
- Developing programmes which are ‘process orientated’ and aimed at strengthening competitiveness within the regional industry.
- A focus on both the employee and the employer, thus providing added value
The principle objectives of the project were as follows:
- The formation of one SME cluster as a basis for the pooling of resources and for collaborative working. A sector champion to be appointed to act as mentor and to encourage and support companies as they embrace a culture of change.
- The development of a culture of work-life balance in the knitwear sector. This involved the carrying out of a baseline assessment of WLB practices within the industry, the development of a WLB measurement toolkit and a programme of awareness raising and implementation within companies.
- The development and delivery of a programme of skills analysis to ascertain individual employee needs and create action plans for individual SMEs.
- The provision of training ‘according to need’ to SMEs and their employees in a range of areas including ICT skills, language skills, management and administrative skills, and marketing.
- The implementation of an Equal Opportunities policy to cover the full range of the DP’s activities, including continuous monitoring and evaluation.
- The development and delivery of relevant e-learning tools. Planned outcomes included the development of five online learning packages including technical training materials dealing with CAD/CAM skills.
These objectives aimed to:
- Promote inclusive working practices and adaptability of companies within the industry
The TASk project has had a positive impact on overd nationally by means of methodology, models and outcomes This work has been made available within final project report, CD Rom, website and at seminars and conferences. Disadvantaged groups have been supported with tailored training and Train the Trainer programme to promote sustainability and empowerment of beneficiaries within the industry.