The textile trades include multiple streams of production and design. Although based on the same fundamental industry, those trades include:
This is a huge global industry, and includes both high fashion garment design types of work and industrial fabrics in many varied forms. Technology is rapidly encroaching on the textile industry, and shifting away from the traditional manual trades types of work into much more advanced production techniques.
Each stream of the textile trade as different entry levels, ranging from unskilled to semiskilled to formal qualifications. Automation is completely changing the nature of this trade, which was at one stage the typical 'outsourced offshore' type of industry. Machine printing has taken over from manual craft-style production, and piecework assembly is also now partly automated.
In each area of the textile trades, career progression is based very largely on skills, qualifications and experience. Textile trade skills are extremely portable in the employment market, but outsourcing has also reduced employment opportunities in countries like the United States, where these skills are more likely to be employed in fashion or similar high-value products.
Textile manufacturing, both in fashion and in the industrial fabrics areas contains a range of broad, generic skills, but specialized skills are required for any form of career progression in this industry. Many textile trades people develop their own careers using both the trades skills and their business skills. Because of the nature of the employment market, career progression can be achieved through organisational employment and entrepreneurial types of business.
Interestingly, new technology, while reducing the need for manual labour, has increased opportunities for skilled workers in design, business and both the fashion and industrial textiles areas. Creative designers with the appropriate technical skills can achieve great success in their areas of special skills and talents.
An experienced textile machine operator with design skills can produce a range of individual products, designs and concepts for manufacturers. In this case, the designs are worth more than a traditional textile industry job. The textile market is extremely receptive to good marketable products at all levels, so the fundamental skills translate into much higher value career options.
If you're looking for a career where creativity can earn millions of dollars, the textile industry and textile trade careers are definitely worth a look, and there are always opportunities for career progression in the textile trade around the world.