Textile operative


Career outlook for

Figures and forecasts for roles at the same level, which require similar skills and qualifications.

Average UK salary

Currently employed in Scotland

Jobs forecast

This information is supplied by LMI For All, where data is currently available for Scotland.

What's it like?

You would work in the production process that turns raw fibres into yarns and fabrics for use in essential products such as clothing, carpets and furniture. You would also apply colours and treatments to textiles.

You may work on producing 'technical textiles' for industries, such as:

  • Construction – roofing felt and safety netting
  • Healthcare – prosthetics and medical dressings
  • Automotive – vehicle upholstery, airbags and tyres

Tasks can vary. You might:

  • Comb and clean fibres and twist them into yarns
  • Spin fibres using machines to twist them and wind them onto cones
  • Weave, knit or loop threads together to make fabrics
  • Dye, finish or print fabrics
  • Treat fabrics to give a particular appearance or quality, such as crease resistance

You would use computerised machinery for many of these tasks.

You would also:

  • Keep production areas clean
  • Make small adjustments to machinery when needed
  • Call on textile technicians to deal with faulty equipment
  • Learn and follow health and safety rules

Working conditions


You would typically work between 37 and 40 hours a week on a shift system.


Textile factories are usually light and well ventilated, although they can get very noisy. You would spend most of your time standing, operating the machines in the production area. You would wear protective clothing, such as ear protectors.

UK employment status



Self employed

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  • Communicating with people
  • Working as part of a team
  • Working on your own
  • Working with your hands
  • Being physically fit

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you’ll need.


There are no formal qualifications required to enter this role but some employers may ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

Often the best way to get into this career is to apply directly to textile factories. You would normally be trained on the job, under the supervision of more experienced staff.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Fashion and Textile technologies

Helpful to have

It may be helpful to have relevant work-based qualifications such as a Scottish Vocational Qualification in Manufacturing Textile Products (SVQ level 1/2/3) or be willing to work towards qualifications once in a job.