Will we have to cancel Christmas? BBC news investigate!

Posted by Sophie Holt on

Recently we welcomed BBC East Midlands Today journalist, Amy Payne, to the Jack Masters factory, to cover an issue that could threaten this year’s Christmas Jumper production!

Since 2012 Jack Masters has been renowned for making traditional Christmas jumpers, and over the past decade demand has increased for our fun, festive knits. With increased demand comes the increased need for skilled workers to help produce our UK made garments – but where are they all?

Amy talked to our MD, Snahal Patel, about the challenges that we are experiencing, recruiting for traditional garment production roles, such as linkers, cup seamers, overlockers, and final pressers.

Snahal said “We have a shortage of workers for three reasons. The first is Brexit – we have lost many skilled EU staff during this period. The second is Covid - We have a much older workforce here so many of them have decided to take early retirement or work part-time, which we are happy to accommodate but that leaves us with a capacity problem. The third is that we are trying to recruit younger people into the industry, but for one reason and another, they don’t want to work in a factory.”

Amy Payne talks to Snahal Patel
Above: Snahal talks to Amy Payne

But why aren’t younger people attracted to working in UK knitwear production? Recent recruit and DeMontfort University Fashion Design graduate, Yasmin, doesn’t understand it. She told Amy “I wanted to work here because there’s a lot of progression opportunities and it’s a really nice company to work for - everyone is very friendly”

Yasmin Brown talks to Amy Payne
Above: Yasmin is interviewed by the BBC

It’s true! At Jack Masters we have a great team of people, some of whom have been with the company for decades. One of those people is Nina, who has overseen Quality Control for over 20 years. She said, “If people just give us a chance, then we will train them up and look after them and they’ll never want to leave!”

Above: Nina shares her memories with Amy

Sadly, staff shortages are not unique to knitwear manufacturing, and this has become an issue affecting number of industries across the UK, but we hope that our continued recruitment drive will ensure a healthy future that will enable us to keep traditional knitwear skills alive for future generations.

The final news piece aired on the BBC East Midlands lunchtime and evening news on 5th May 2022.

Jack Masters are always on the look out for skilled factory workers to join our growing team.

If you are an experienced knitwear linker, cup seamer, overlocker or final presser with a minimum of 3 years experience please get in touch to arrange a trial.

Email our Office Manager jenny@jackmasters.co.uk or call us +44 (0)116 2837300

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