Overview of the role

Cut specified material components by hand or by machine using templates or measurements and then prepare the components for assembly.

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in the manufacturing sector, in the production of fashion and textiles items using various fabrics and materials such as canvas, cotton, leather, silk, vinyl, wool, woven and non-woven. Production ranges from bespoke to mass-produced items and includes, handbags, shoes, clothing, tents, industrial textiles, and numerous home wear products. Employers vary in size from micro to large.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to cut specified material components by hand or by machine using templates or measurements and then prepare the components for assembly. In preparation for cutting, a material cutter will select the materials following instructions, check the materials for quality issues, and plan, measure and calculate material usage ensuring waste minimalisation. They are then ready to cut components to meet the required quality, quantity, and specifications. They have a role in ensuring effective handover to the next stage, including bundling and labeling and completing records and documentation such as production/cutting sheets or work dockets. Material cutters are also responsible for dealing with quality issues and providing re-cuts as requested by the production team. In order to keep the process running smoothly, they maintain specialist machines and equipment, for example changing blades and chains, sharpening shears and blades, cleaning and removing lint and maintaining automated tables/machines.

Material cutters work in a production environment, often in a dedicated cutting room. They must have an eye for detail and be able to distinguish between colours and patterns. The role can be physically demanding, involving lifting heavy rolls of fabric and standing for long periods of time.

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with other cutters, depending on the size and structure of the company. They will work under the supervision of a manager or supervisor and may interact with personnel from other teams such as production, maintenance, and stock control. They may also come into contact with external suppliers or customers.

An employee in this occupation will be responsible for cutting materials to meet production targets and quality standards, ensuring continuous supply of cut components for the next stage in the process. They also need to achieve and maintain consistent standards in relation to material waste and time management. They are central to the efficiency and effectiveness of production; as once the material has been cut, little can be done to rectify serious mistakes and any errors will lead to problems at the assembly stage; minimising waste and ‘re-cuts’ is key. All work must be completed in line with health, safety and environmental regulations and considerations. They must wear personal protective equipment for example a chain mail glove and safety goggles, and follow workplace safety rules in the cutting room at all times.

Typical job titles include:

Cutter Cutting operative Fabric cutter Manufacturing cutter Material cutter Sample cutter Textile cutter

Occupation duties

Duty KSBs

Duty 1 Receive, read and interpret cutting instructions/job sheet and plan the days cutting schedule. Cutting instructions may include material specifications, code number, quantity required, sizes, colour, style number, number of pattern pieces, customer details, a lay plan, and marker length.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K8

S1 S2 S3

B3 B5 B6

Duty 2 Select material to be cut, check against the job sheet/specification and material availability, and report any shortages. Transport material to the cutting table/area safely.

K5 K6 K9 K10 K11 K12 K14 K23

S4 S7

B1 B5

Duty 3 Estimate/calculate material requirements and prepare materials for cutting for example, material relaxation, material spreading, laying/ fabric stack ensuring fabric pile and print is considered if appropriate.

K5 K6 K9 K10 K11 K13 K14 K15 K17

S4 S5 S6 S10

B1 B3 B5

Duty 4 Inspect material to ensure it meets quality standards, identifying and reporting flaws and faults such as shading, holes, overprint, scruffs, fibre structure and marks.



B2 B5

Duty 5 Apply the pattern/marker or the given measurements to the prepared material. Transfer marks and notches to the material using the appropriate tool, for example drill markers, punch perforators, cloth notches.

K13 K17 K18

S4 S9 S10


Duty 6 Following the markings, cut material using hand or automated equipment, for example shears, band knife, cross cutter, lay-end cutter, or automatic cutting system. Ensuring all instructions are followed, for example grain lines, pairs and quantities and material wastage is minimal.

K6 K7 K14 K15 K19 K20 K21 K23

S9 S12 S13

B1 B5

Duty 7 Report issues relating to quality, quantity, templates, specifications, workload, equipment, plans and deadlines.

K1 K3 K25 K26 K27 K28 K29

S14 S18 S19 S20 S21

B2 B3 B4 B5 B6

Duty 8 Conduct first line preventative maintenance on cutting equipment to ensure the efficient performance of tools, for example checking, cleaning, sharpening or changing blades.

K1 K16 K20 K21 K22


B1 B5

Duty 9 Identify, bundle and label the cut components in order to pass onto the next stage of the manufacturing process, for example sorting, fusing, bonding, stitching.

K1 K28 K29

S15 S16

B4 B5 B6

Duty 10 Complete documentation relating to the cutting process for example work docket, work ticket, job/production sheet.

K1 K24 K25 K26 K27

S20 S21

B4 B5

Duty 11 Support continuous improvement activity.

K1 K2 K3 K4 K5 K6 K7 K24


B1 B2 B3 B4



K1: The material cutters role, responsibilities, and position within the wider production operation. Back to Duty

K2: Operational insight: types of products produced and types of customers (clothing, home wear, retailers, bespoke). Back to Duty

K3: The end to end production process, quality requirements, deadlines and targets, performance rates (efficiency). Back to Duty

K4: Commercial considerations (efficiency, material cost, production costs). Back to Duty

K5: Health and Safety: Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), Manual Handling, Risk Assessments, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (Chain mail gloves), machine guards. Back to Duty

K6: Environment and sustainability; Environmental Protection Act 1990, consequences of waste disposal (landfill), energy efficiency. Back to Duty

K7: Work-station ergonomics; posture and positioning whilst cutting. Back to Duty

K8: Workload planning for example scheduling and prioritisation. Back to Duty

K9: The construction, behaviour and appropriate use of different types of materials: canvas, leather, silk, vinyl, woollens. Back to Duty

K10: Material characteristics: quality, colour, pattern, print, pile, correct side. Back to Duty

K11: Material matching techniques for stripes, checks, pattern repeat, print placement. Back to Duty

K12: Material faults and fault tolerances; shading, discoloration, print error, holes, marks. Back to Duty

K13: Component shapes and product parts. Back to Duty

K14: Cutting specifications and instructions; the number to be cut, grain line, size, pairs. Back to Duty

K15: Mathematical techniques for cutting, measuring and calculating meterage. Back to Duty

K16: Measuring tools, equipment and techniques. Back to Duty

K17: Material spreading and transferring information requirements; darts, ease, pocket positions. Back to Duty

K18: Lay planning and pattern placement techniques; manual and machine. Back to Duty

K19: Manual and machine cutting techniques; quality check requirements. Back to Duty

K20: Material cutting machines and equipment: knives, cutting machines, press, scissors; their purpose. Back to Duty

K21: The consequence of machine/equipment mis-use - accidents, machine isolation. Back to Duty

K22: First line preventative maintenance requirements: checking, cleaning, sharpening, or changing blades. Back to Duty

K23: Re-cut request procedures and the re-cut process. Back to Duty

K24: Continuous improvement techniques: lean, 6-Sigma, KAIZEN, 5S (Sort, Set In order, Shine, Standardize and Sustain). Back to Duty

K25: Documentation requirements and their purpose: specification sheets, work records, labels. Back to Duty

K26: Verbal and written communication techniques. Back to Duty

K27: Material cutter terminology: ease, pairs, grain, right side. Back to Duty

K28: Team working techniques and benefits. Back to Duty

K29: Equality and Diversity in the workplace. Back to Duty


S1: Read, interpret, and follow information for example work instructions, material specifications. Back to Duty

S2: Prepare the work area for cutting materials. Back to Duty

S3: Maintain the work area. Back to Duty

S4: Follow health and safety regulations, legislation and procedures; PPE, manual handling, lifting procedures and ergonomic practice. Back to Duty

S5: Follow environmental and sustainability regulations and procedures. Back to Duty

S6: Estimate and calculate material requirements to complete the job. Back to Duty

S7: Select material following specification or instruction. Back to Duty

S8: Inspect materials against specifications and quality standard. Back to Duty

S9: Check lay plan. Back to Duty

S10: Prepare materials for cutting for example lay and spread material. Back to Duty

S11: Select, check and use tools/equipment for the task. Back to Duty

S12: Cut material by hand and/or machine for example band knife, shears, laser. Back to Duty

S13: Check quality of the lay post cut for example waste minimised, grain, component positioning, colour continuity. Back to Duty

S14: Check cut components. Back to Duty

S15: Prepare material for the next stage of the production process for example bundling, labelling. Back to Duty

S16: Identify and segregate material for reuse, recycling and disposal. Back to Duty

S17: Check and clean tools and equipment and sharpen or change blades as required. Back to Duty

S18: Report cutting issues for example material faults, equipment faults shortages, required recuts, lay plan. Back to Duty

S19: Apply continuous improvement techniques. Back to Duty

S20: Communicate with colleagues: verbal. Back to Duty

S21: Enter information - written or electronic. Back to Duty


B1: Prioritises health, safety and the environment, for example follows safe ergonomic practices, ensures safety and welfare of self and others and adopts environmental working practices. Back to Duty

B2: Uses own initiative, for example when dealing with material faults and flaws. Back to Duty

B3: Adaptable and flexible, for example in response to changes in priorities and work deadlines. Back to Duty

B4: Team player, for example keeps others informed, interacts proactively, considers impact of actions on others, and takes account of equality and diversity. Back to Duty

B5: Takes ownership and responsibility, for example seeks to meet quality targets, completes allocated work on time, escalates issues. Back to Duty

B6: Professional, for example polite and courteous, a good timekeeper, has a positive can-do attitude. Back to Duty


English and Maths

English and maths qualifications form a mandatory part of all apprenticeships and must be completed before an apprentice can pass through gateway. The requirements are detailed in the current version of the apprenticeship funding rules.

Additional details

Occupational Level:


Duration (months):



This apprenticeship standard will be reviewed after three years

Status: Approved for delivery
Level: 2
Reference: ST0899
Version: 1.0
Date updated: 15/02/2023
Approved for delivery: 24 August 2020
Route: Engineering and manufacturing
Minimum duration to gateway: 12 months (this does not include EPA period)
Maximum funding: £5000
LARS Code: 592
EQA Provider: Ofqual

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Contact us about this apprenticeship

Employers involved in creating the standard: Apparel tasker, Ena Shaw ltd, I A Samples, Ince Umbrellas, Leather, CofE, Maes of London, Morgan Furniture, Nieper Ltd, Plus Samples, The all in one company, The Senator Group

Version log

Version Change detail Earliest start date Latest start date Latest end date
1.0 Approved for delivery 24/08/2020 Not set Not set

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