“Our industry offers interesting apprenticeships in all fields”
With the Jobwall of the Texpertise Network of Messe Frankfurt, Techtextil and Texprocess bring together qualified young people with companies from the textile sector. We spoke with Ingeborg Neumann, President of Germany’s textil+mode trade association, about how attractive the sector is for young people and about new career opportunities.
What are the current issues with regard to young trainees?
Ingeborg Neumann: As in other sectors, the labour shortage in factories is a great source of concern for the German textile and fashion industry. In the past, our industry has succeeded in steadily building employment and strengthening training opportunities. What we’d like from government here is more support rather than more regulation. The current political framework – including laws on part-time and temporary work and high non-wage labour costs – puts a strain on companies and also jeopardises urgently needed investment, as well as jobs.
Which sectors and/or countries have carefully targeted initiatives in place and what do they look like?
Ingeborg Neumann: The German textile and fashion industry recognised very early on that they needed to reach out to young people in particular. Our ‘Go Textile!’ campaign, for example, which is aimed at young trainees, has been running for 10 years. Many associations from other European countries and other sectors are talking to us about this, and they’re interested in establishing a similar service.
Which sectors in the textile industry remain as attractive as ever for young people, and why?
Ingeborg Neumann: Our industry offers interesting apprenticeships in all fields. Young men and women have very good chances on the labour market in the popular commercial professions, but also in the technical professions, as machine and equipment operators, production engineers, product finishers and product testers. Those who are interested can find out about individual job profiles on the Go Textile! online portal.
What new occupational fields have emerged that young people find attractive? Can you speculate about the future?
Ingeborg Neumann: Since 2018, we’ve had the new businessman/woman training apprenticeship in e-commerce. This takes account of the development that more and more goods are being sold online. Despite the rapid development in digitisation, we firmly believe that the training contents of existing job profiles have stood the test: they don’t all need to be changed overnight. Adjusting to change needs to be done step by step, and it must also be realistic and workable for the small and medium-sized enterprises in our sector.
Photo: Ingeborg Neumann, President of the Confederation of the German Textile and Fashion Industry (Gesamtverband textil+mode) (Source: photothek/Imo)
Text: Kirsten Rein