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Apprentices manufacture key textile products at local firm

Two apprentices from Keighley College are supporting a local manufacturing firm in the production of essential textile products in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Baildon-based Canvasman produces textile products including boat covers, upholstery, shop canopies and vehicle covers. The firm mainly provides products for the leisure industry, however due to the recent pandemic, is now also producing essential products such as protective screens and isolation units.

As part of a partnership with Keighley College, Canvasman provides apprenticeships to students studying textile-focused courses. The apprenticeship involves students learning about health and safety at work, the history of the textile industry, the current market and how to produce textile products. All apprentices participate in a training schedule to learn specific manufacturing processes and experience working on a variety of products. 

Chris Salisbury, managing director at Canvasman, said: “The enthusiasm and assistance from our apprentices has been outstanding – they have risen to the challenge with dedication and a positive attitude. It’s incredibly important for us to support key businesses during these times, including the production of bus screens for local firm Transdev Blazefield. We’re proud to have played a role in helping to save lives and over the last three weeks we have prototyped 30 new products.”

Manufacturing Sewn Products Level 2 apprentice, Joseph Armitage, said: “Canvasman has responded incredibly well to the recent changes; my training has been accelerated in order for me to work on specific products and make a difference during these times. Since starting my apprenticeship in January, I’ve developed important practical skills and a dedicated work ethic.”

Meanwhile, former college apprentice, Robyn Allan, works full-time as a machinist at the firm and is assisting with the manufacturing of isolation units for intensive care wards.

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