Manufacturing resources

The theme for this week is textiles manufacturing and hopefully some of these links will be useful for generating exercises and discussion relevant to the up and coming exams. 

According to this short video clip the British Fashion Council say that the British fashion industry is worth £21 billion and employs 816,000 people and makes up 1.7% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) which is more than the car industry. The video also discusses the ‘Kate’ effect where the Duchess of Cambridge has increased sales of British designers and brands. 

There are also other really interesting statistics on fast fashion at which shows how much people spend annually on clothes and shoes, how many clothes are thrown away and how long it takes for items to go from the concept stage to being sold in the store using Fast Fashion (an amazing 3 weeks). 

On a similar theme did you see the first of two programmes on British textiles manufacturing competing with China? This is the story of a British cushion manufacturer in the UK who also owns factories in China. Similar to the recent Mary Portas programmes manufacturing knickers in the UK his aim is to bring more of his manufacturing back to his British factory. The programme has some interesting insights into the growing costs of manufacturing abroad which means that it is not always as cost effective as it used to be. It also highlights the differing work ethics between the two countries. The first programme can still be viewed on the IPlayer at and the second one airs on Tuesday 15th May at 8pm on BBC2. There is also an written article on the programme at 

One of the big focuses of this programme is the need for speed during production and how machinists can get a bonus for exceeding their targets. The programme this Tuesday is advertised as having a competition between the British and Chinese factories for who is able to manufacture the most products in the shortest time. A good exercise is school might be to get students to do a similar exercise to see who can produce simple cushions out of scrap fabrics the quickest (and most accurate). This could be developed into a batch production exercise and linked to exam questions focusing on scales of production.

If you want additional support on teaching manufacturing and industrial practices take a look at the Manufacture It! resource on my ‘Resources to Buy’ page for a game that teaches about industrial production in textiles and a scheme of work that focuses on a batch production practical exercise

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