JCB Academy Head Joins David Nieper to Champion Skills in the Fashion and Textiles Industry

Paul-PrichardPaul Pritchard, instrumental in establishing the JCB Academy, the UK’s first University Technical College, has joined the board of British fashion house, David Nieper, as a non-executive director.

His appointment signals David Nieper’s ambitions to take a lead role in regenerating the fashion and textiles industry in the East Midlands, and comes at a time of rapid jobs growth in manufacturing and the UK textiles industry. According to the latest figures from the Alliance Report, more than 20,000 jobs are expected to be created in the UK textiles industry by 2020* – driven by the rising popularity of re-shoring and Made in Britain fashion.

Commentating on his appointment, Paul Pritchard, said: “David Nieper is a fascinating company, and is almost unique as a vertical company that designs and manufactures everything in Derbyshire. On meeting staff across the business, I was blown away by their pride, enthusiasm and passion for David Nieper and the fashion business. The attitude of the staff and values of the company really stand out and I’m excited to be a part of such a great company helping train and encourage the future generation.

“I’m on a clear mandate to help David Nieper ‘recruit for attitude and train for skill’ – to lead the regeneration of the UK fashion and textiles industry in the East Midlands, and beyond.”

The issues facing David Nieper are very similar to the issues addressed in Staffordshire by JCB. The East Midlands’ is the heartlands of the UK fashion and textiles industry, and a greater proportion of East Midland’s economic output comes from manufacturing than in any other English region or country of the UK**. Today, the industry is facing a skills shortage and time is running out to pass on skills from experienced hands to young people.

Christopher Nieper, managing director of David Nieper comments: “If we don’t act now, we face real danger of missing the opportunity to pass on skills, so Paul’s appointment couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Just occasionally, you come across people who really capture your imagination, and in meeting Paul, everyone shares my enthusiasm. He’s had a lifetime in industry most recently as worldwide head of learning and development at JCB. I’m looking forward to working alongside Paul in developing a new generation of careers in fashion and textile manufacturing.”

David Nieper designs and manufactures all its luxury women’s fashion in Alfreton, Derbyshire, employing 230 skilled people. Committed to Made in Britain since 1961, more than 30 people have joined the company since the start of 2014.

As well as his recent appointment to the David Nieper board, Paul will also act as an advisor and mentor to staff, to help ensure that personal development, learning and skills remains at the forefront of David Nieper’s success. Paul has also retained his Vice Chair of governor’s position at the JCB Academy, after heading up the JCB Academy since it was founded. Today, the JCB Academy is the gold standard in vocational-led education. Outside of industry, Paul has also embarked on an equally rewarding career as an ordained priest with the Church of England.

*Alliance Report: repatriating UK textiles manufacture, published by New Economy Manchester
**According to the ONS, a greater proportion of East Midland’s economic output comes from manufacturing than in any other English region or country of the UK.