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Textiles, Clothing and Footwear

Overview

This page provides high-level information on the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear sector.

The Textile, Clothing and Footwear sector has three main sub-sectors:

  • Production of clothing, textiles, footwear, leather goods and specialised technical textiles
  • Provision of services including dry cleaning and laundry operations, fashion and textile design, and clothing and footwear repairs
  • Processing and manufacturing of natural (wool, cotton and leather) and synthetic materials such as PVC and shade cloth.

There were approximately 14,000 businesses operating in the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear sector at the end of June 2017, employing 38,800 people in 2017-2018. More than 30% of Textile Processing and Manufacturing businesses are based in Victoria and more than one third of TCF Production businesses based in New South Wales. Victoria is the base for 43% of the Textile Processing and Manufacturing workforce and 35% of the TCF Production workforce.

Nationally recognised training for the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear industry is delivered under:

For information on other areas of manufacturing, visit the following cluster pages:

Information sourced from the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

 

IRC and skills forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

Employment in the Textiles, Leather, Clothing and Footwear manufacturing sector has been trending downwards over time. Employment numbers have dropped from around 92,600 in 2000 to around 30,300 in 2019. By 2024 employment is predicted to be about 27,000.

Within these industry sectors the two largest occupational groups are Sewing Machinists and Clothing Trades Workers. For Sewing Machinists there is predicted to be a decrease in employment numbers by 2024 of about 9%, while Clothing Trade Workers is predicted to slightly increase (less than 1%). The employment levels for Textile and Footwear Production Machine Operators and Canvas and Leather Goods Makers are also predicted to decrease between 2019 and 2024, while Fashion, Industrial and Jewellery Designers are projected to increase by just over 20%.

Training trends

Training snapshot

Program enrolments and program completions have declined between 2015 and 2018, with 5,080 enrolments and around 1,350 completions in 2018. Subject only enrolments declined to around 150 enrolments following increases in 2016 and 2017. During 2018, a large proportion of enrolments were at the certificate II & III levels (40% and 25% respectively), although there was also a reasonable amount of training activity at the diploma and above level (22%). The majority of the qualifications were in the area of Fashion Design (74%).

The most common intended occupations for the training were Sewing Machinist (34%), followed by Clothing Patternmaker (17%), then Dressmaker or Tailor (14%). However, there were also enrolments in courses that intended to lead to many other occupations including Clothing Trades Workers and Fashion Designer.

For enrolments during 2018, 69% of courses were delivered by TAFE institutes, with a further 18% delivered by private training providers. When considering all providers, 73% of subjects were government funded with a further 22% funded via domestic fee for service arrangements. However, a higher proportion of subjects delivered by TAFE institutes were Commonwealth and government funded (73%) than for private training providers (55%).

The largest proportion of enrolments was by students from Victoria (38%), followed by New South Wales (19%), Queensland (13%), and Western Australia (11%).

More than two fifths of training was delivered in Victoria (42%), followed by New South Wales (19%), Western Australia (14%) and Queensland (12%).

There were 70 apprenticeship commencements during 2018, and more than 40 completions. Both commencements and completions have declined significantly since 2012 and the numbers recorded in 2018 were the lowest yearly totals over the period between 2010 and 2018. The most common intended occupation for the apprenticeships was Laundry Worker (General). During 2018, the large majority of apprentice training was reported by New South Wales (35%), Western Australia (34%) and Queensland (27%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

The Textiles, Clothing and Footwear IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast identified the following skill development priorities over the next three years as Fashion business, including law and compliance and small business skills, use of new technologies and materials; ethical sourcing and supply chain management and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. The top priority industry and occupation skills were identified as Industrial sewing, and advanced clothing production and garment alterations.

In addition, the five most important generic skills are listed as:

  • Technology
  • Design mindset/Thinking critically/Systems thinking/Solving problems skills
  • Communication/Collaboration including virtual collaboration/Social intelligence skills
  • Learning agility/Information literacy/Intellectual autonomy and self-management skills
  • Customer service/Marketing skills.

The workforce challenges and opportunities driving these skill development priorities predominantly are in relation to sustainability/social licence to operate, technology and new materials. Research and industry consultation conducted for the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast found that:

  • Opportunities exist for laundry and dry cleaning services, clothing and footwear repair businesses, manufacturers and designers that can successfully communicate their sustainability credentials to consumers who are increasingly interested in buying better-quality, longer-lasting garments and taking greater care around garment maintenance and repair, and is creating the need for employees with advanced production and repair skills, traditional craftsmanship, and sophisticated marketing skills
  • Australian research and development is exploring innovative solutions in areas such as separating blends of cotton-polyester material for recycling and water and energy saving technologies for processing natural fibres
  • With increasing consumer demand for ethical sourcing, the sector has access to cotton grown in Australia, which is internationally recognised as a premium product free from the use of child labour
  • Laundry and dry-cleaning services are increasing business efficiencies and expanding service offerings using data capture devices that are improving efficiency and volume capacity while also reducing emissions and energy consumption, and the use of RFID is assisting with stock control and traceability, which is important for infection containment
  • Automated CAD cutting and laser measuring equipment are enabling the production of new and customisable products for textile processors and manufacturers and employers need workers who can combine the ability to use new technology with traditional textile knowledge and skills
  • Technical textiles and nonwoven fibres are a thriving and fast-growing sector with innovation in new materials, processes and applications expanding non-traditional end-uses for both new and existing textile products, and research and development in areas such as carbon fibres and composites in clothing and footwear, functional fibrous materials used in medical textiles, super hydrophobic textiles and protective garments and gloves, nanofibers used in filtration, tissue engineering, energy generation and reinforcement sensors, biomedical applications of natural fibre structures.

Research and development relevant to the sector is being conducted at the Australian Future Fibres Research and Innovation Centre (AFFRIC), a collaboration between Deakin University and CSIRO Materials Science and Engineering supported by the Australian and Victorian governments. Current projects underway include:

  • Functional fibrous materials – medical textiles, super hydrophobic textiles, protective garments and gloves, and directional moisture management in fabrics and fibre-reinforced materials
  • Green natural fibres – environmentally friendly ways of processing natural fibres, such as cotton, silk, bamboo and hemp, fibre and textile processing, properties and applications

Prior to the above research, the CSIRO has developed SportWool, a bi-layer knit fabric used for high performance clothing for elite athletes. The fabric is elastic, provides UV protection, does not retain odours and draws moisture to the outside of the fabric. The project that produced SportWool was completed in 1998, and the technology has since been adapted to a 100% cotton fabric.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSIC 2 digit, 13 Textiles, Leather, Clothing and Footwear Manufacturing, employment projections to May 2023.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 – EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 2 digit 13 Textiles, Leather, Clothing and Footwear Manufacturing, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 2 digit 13 Textiles, Leather, Clothing and Footwear Manufacturing, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Students and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • MST Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Training Package and LMT07 Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Training Package.
  • Clothing Production
    • LMT20607 - Certificate II in Clothing Production (Intermediate)
    • LMT20707 - Certificate II in Clothing Production (Complex or Multiple Processes)
    • LMT30507 - Certificate III in Clothing Production
    • LMT40307 - Certificate IV in Clothing Production
    • MST30116 - Certificate III in Clothing and Textile Production
    • MST40216 - Certificate IV in Clothing Production
  • Fashion Design
    • LMT21706 - Certificate II in Applied Fashion Design and Technology
    • LMT21707 - Certificate II in Applied Fashion Design and Technology
    • LMT31407 - Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology
    • LMT32011 - Certificate III in Digitising and Computerised Embroidery
    • LMT41007 - Certificate IV in Applied Fashion Design and Technology
    • LMT41107 - Certificate IV in Textile Design and Development
    • LMT41207 - Certificate IV in Fashion and Textiles Merchandising
    • LMT50307 - Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology
    • LMT50507 - Diploma of Textile Design and Development
    • LMT50607 - Diploma of Fashion and Textiles Merchandising
    • LMT60307 - Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Technology
    • LMT60407 - Advanced Diploma of Textile Design and Development
    • LMT60507 - Advanced Diploma of Fashion and Textiles Merchandising
    • MST20616 - Certificate II in Applied Fashion Design and Technology
    • MST30816 - Certificate III in Applied Fashion Design and Technology
    • MST40516 - Certificate IV in Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising
    • MST50116 - Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising
    • MST50216 - Diploma of Textile Design and Development
    • MST60116 - Advanced Diploma of Applied Fashion Design and Merchandising
    • MST60216 - Advanced Diploma of Textile Design and Development
  • Laundry and Dry Cleaning
    • LMT21410 - Certificate II in Laundry Operations
    • LMT21510 - Certificate II in Dry Cleaning Operations
    • LMT31107 - Certificate III in Laundry Operations
    • LMT31110 - Certificate III in Laundry Operations
    • LMT31210 - Certificate III in Dry Cleaning Operations
    • LMT40810 - Certificate IV in Laundry Operations and Supervision
    • MST20416 - Certificate II in Laundry Operations
    • MST30616 - Certificate III in Laundry Operations
    • MST30716 - Certificate III in Dry Cleaning Operations
  • Other Textile
    • MST20116 - Certificate II in TCF Production Support
    • MST20216 - Certificate II in TCF Production Operations
    • MST20316 - Certificate II in Leather Production
    • MST20516 - Certificate II in TCF Services and Repair
    • MST30316 - Certificate III in Millinery
    • MST30416 - Certificate III in Footwear
    • MST30516 - Certificate III in Leather Production
    • MST40116 - Certificate IV in Textile Design, Development and Production
    • MST40316 - Certificate IV in Custom-Made Footwear
    • MST40416 - Certificate IV in Millinery
  • Other Textile, Clothing and Footwear
    • LMT11107 - Certificate I in Textiles Clothing and Footwear
    • LMT20107 - Certificate II in Textile Production (Intermediate)
    • LMT20507 - Certificate II in Textile Fabrication
    • LMT20807 - Certificate II in Millinery
    • LMT21207 - Certificate II in Leather Production
    • LMT30107 - Certificate III in Textile Production
    • LMT30307 - Certificate III in Cotton Ginning
    • LMT30407 - Certificate III in Textile Fabrication
    • LMT30607 - Certificate III in Millinery
    • LMT30707 - Certificate III in Footwear Production
    • LMT30807 - Certificate III in Footwear Repair
    • LMT30907 - Certificate III in Leather Production
    • LMT31909 - Certificate III in Engineering - TCF Mechanic
    • LMT40107 - Certificate IV in Textile Technology and Production
    • LMT40407 - Certificate IV in Custom-made Footwear
    • LMT40707 - Certificate IV in Millinery
    • MST30216 - Certificate III in Manufactured Textile Products.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 subject enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document. 

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

MST and LMT07 Textiles, Clothing and Footwear Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions 
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority and generic skills data have been extracted from the Textiles, Clothing and Footwear IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 31 Mar 2020
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