Textiles graduate lands role at cutting-edge fabrics company
BA(Hons) Textile Design graduate Megan Leech has landed a job as a Development Engineer with renowned fabric manufacturer Heathcoat Fabrics.
Heathcoat Fabrics develops complex, hi-tech fabrics. Producing truly remarkable products that have had a global impact, the company boasts the likes of NASA and the Ministry of Defence amongst their clients.
In February of last year, Heathcoat Fabrics created the parachute that successfully landed the Perseverance Rover on Mars, as well as helping the NHS fight the spread of Covid 19 by supplying anti-viral English Cotton face masks.
Landing a role with the innovative fabric makers means that Megan will have access to state of the art facilities and will work alongside pioneering designers.
Megan sowed the seeds for her career success on Falmouth’s Textiles Design course, with the graduate telling us that the course “was 3 years that I would happily repeat many times.”
We caught up with Megan to discuss her role, career aspirations and how Falmouth University helped her get to where she is today.
What does a development engineer do at Heathcoat Fabrics?
We develop fabrics that have to perform in certain ways. Working in the synchronic department, we make belting fabrics for many different industries. As part of development, we are taking external and internal concepts or requests and changing or enhancing fabrics that are already in production, adapting processes or creating new fabrics from scratch.
What’s the best thing about your job?
I get to see the whole process of production - we process, weave, dye and finish our fabrics. It’s fascinating seeing and understanding the elements that go into each aspect of the fabric. It was quite a change experiencing the difference of weaving your own fabrics on a very small scale to weaving on an industrial scale. Through being in this environment I have learnt so much, and I still have so much to learn.
While I was at Falmouth, I was really interested in the process of weaving... The looms at Falmouth were incredible in allowing me to develop these interests.
How did the Textile Design degree at Falmouth help develop your skills?
While I was at Falmouth, I was really interested in the process of weaving. I was encouraged to explore the handle of cloth, the structures and the techniques behind weaving. The looms at Falmouth were incredible in allowing me to develop these interests. I focused my projects on the jacquard (a device fitted to a loom that simplifies the process of manufacturing textiles), exploring how the loom worked and how I could push the boundaries of its own limitations.
What was the best thing about studying Textile Design at Falmouth?
It’s hard to narrow the best things down as it was three years that I would happily repeat many times. I found the whole environment incredibly inspiring, which helped to keep me really invested in my work. I think this was a combination of living in such a beautiful area and working alongside such inspiring friends,tutors and technicians. Without all those people I would not have been so encouraged to develop my skills and to give myself the confidence to develop my own interests and to continue weaving.
What are your career aspirations?
My interests have always been with developing my understanding more in learning something new about a fabric or process. I would like to continue to do this throughout my career, whether in the technical fabric sector or not.I would like to continue researching weaving and every aspect that goes into it.