Jill Thorpe and Jenny Hayden, who was the first to complete the David Nieper apprenticeship programme

Spotlight on David Nieper Ltd’s apprenticeship programme

Posted by: Laura Hammond

Fri 7th October 2022

David Nieper Ltd has long been employing and training staff in Alfreton – now it’s gone one step further and is running its own apprenticeship programme.

The company offers two different apprenticeships – Level 2 sewing machinist and Level 3 garment maker.

The first apprentice to take part in the programme – Jenny Hayden – completed her Level 2 sewing machinist apprenticeship in August.

She joined the company last year with very little experience of sewing. Now, Jenny works on the factory floor helping to make luxury items for customers.

Jenny started her training at the David Nieper Sewing Academy – an on-site school run by experienced dressmakers where trainees start out by sewing on paper.

Jill Thorpe, trainer at the David Nieper Sewing Academy, explained: “We show you how to thread your machine on, all the health and safety that goes with it. Everything you may need to know.

“They get a full training experience. Once they’ve done that with us – we aim for about 12 weeks – then they move to the transition line and there they are helped to get their speed up.

“Then they’re on to live work and it all starts to get a bit more real then. You move out onto the various lines on the shop floor and their supervisors then help them improve speeds. It’s a continual learning cycle.”

Jenny’s final assessment saw her make a basic t-shirt but she was also judged on other skills, such as cleaning down her machine.

She gained a pass, plus distinction, for her final assessment and is rightly proud of her achievement.

David Nieper currently employs five apprentices and is recruiting for more.

Apprenticeships are full time, working 7am until 4pm Monday to Thursday and 7am until 12pm on Fridays.

You can find out more about the sewing machinist apprenticeship role – including how to apply – here.

The David Nieper apprenticeship programme was subject to an Ofsted inspection in August. You can read the inspector’s report, which was published in September, here.