The inside track
Finding a job within a company
Employers range from design studios to sample units to wedding dress designers to manufacturers. They may advertise their vacancies in the local press, Jobcentre Plus offices, through recruitment agencies or in industry publications.
Many companies like to recruit and train for the role internally as this is a highly skilled role and designers and manufacturers like to mould their staff around particular work practices, techniques and production methods. Typically a sewing machinist will move into this job after gaining production experience within the company.
It is also common for companies to use freelancers. These are self-employed sample machinists who often work for a number of businesses at any given time. These freelance machinists would typically be recruited through an agency or through a longstanding relationship with the company. A particularly busy time for freelance sample machinists is around fashion weeks.
Fashion and textiles apprenticeships
Another way to become a sample machinist is through a formal fashion and textiles apprenticeship. Apprentices are employed by and trained within a company. This is what a progression route could look like:
The range of apprenticeship vacancies available in your area will depend on the types of businesses that are based there. When applying for an apprenticeship some companies may ask for a number of GCSEs before offering you a place but they could bypass this depending on experience, enthusiasm and potential.
Training providers and colleges also advertise apprenticeship vacancies as well as other industry-related training that may lead to an apprenticeship.