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Circular Product Design Developer KTP Associate (Fixed Term for 27 Months)

Birmingham City University – Birmingham Institute of Jewellery, Fashion and Textiles

Location: Birmingham, West Midlands

Closing Date: 23.59 hours BST on Sunday 07 July 2024

Beeswift Limited and the College of Jewellery, Fashion and Textiles located within the Parkside at Birmingham City University are looking to appoint a high calibre graduate (graduated within the last five years) as a Circular Product Design Developer KTP Associate).

This position forms part of the Knowledge Transfer programme (KTP), co-funded by a grant from Innovate UK and Beeswift Limited. It is essential you understand the fundamentals of how a KTP works between a business and the University and the vital role you will play if you successfully secure this position. The Circular Product Design Developer (KTP Associate) will have access to a wider range of benefits including a personal development budget of £4,500 to upskill during the project.  For more information, please go to:

The successful candidate will be employed by Birmingham City University, working fulltime delivering a 27-month KTP project in partnership with Beeswift Limited.  

Beeswift Limited is a manufacturer and wholesaler of Personal Protective Clothing and Equipment encompassing a wide range of safety products and high-quality workwear sold across the UK, EU and the rest of the world. The company provide good quality PPE and workwear from Head to Toe, protecting their customers with superior durability and improved comfort. As one of the country's leading manufacturers and wholesalers of PPE and workwear Beeswift Limited recognise the requirements for products that fall outside their circle of expertise. For further information please visit

The successful candidate recruited for this position will be employed as a Circular Product Design Developer (KTP Associate). This role presents an exciting opportunity to work in collaboration with leading academics at BCU to apply knowledge and technical innovation, delivered on site at the company. The Circular Product Design Developer (KTP Associate) should have a minimum 2.1 University qualification in a relevant subject area and should be graduated within the last five years.


  • The Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate position will be based at Beeswift Limited, The Hub, Witton, Birmingham, B6 7EU
  • The successful candidate will have full access to Birmingham City University’s resources such as offices, labs, and library to complete the KTP project (a workplan has already been written with KPIs and outcome deliverables)
  • The Circular Product Design Developer (KTP Associate) will be supervised and mentored by both a lead academic and academic supervisor academics from BCU’s College of Jewellery, Fashion and Textiles within the Faculty of Art, Design and Media as well as a company supervisor located at Beeswift Limited who’s aim is to assist the Circular Product Developer to deliver the knowledge into the Beeswift Limited and successfully deliver the 27 month KTP project on behalf of Beeswift Limited and Birmingham City University


The Associate will work on:

  • Reviewing and addressing existing product ranges and manufacturing methods through life cycle assessment analysis
  • Developing strategies to minimise the environmental impact of workwear manufacture and distribution, including product-miles and waste minimisation
  • Carbon footprint reduction in existing processes through onshoring manufacture with the potential to upskill the UK and Northern Ireland supplier base
  • The investigation and introduction of new circular materials in collaboration with knitting and weaving sub-contractors.
  • Working with recycling contractors on potential recycling pathways to introduce new recycling infrastructures in collaboration with waste handling sub-contractors.
  • The identification and mapping of suitable closed loop systems for new clothing products and accessories.
  • Product testing to determine the wear characteristics, flammability, and comfort of new materials.
  • Innovative material research, sourcing and testing of new novel textiles.
  • Design and develop new circular workwear ranges.
  • To work with existing and new suppliers to overcome new product introduction challenges associate with untried materials.
  • Creating system interventions to influence consumer behaviour

The role requires the successful candidate to:

  • Undertake market research, focus groups and interviews with stakeholders. 
  • Apply systems thinking synthesis to current manufacturing practices and business processes.
  • Commit to the Circular economy principles of designing out waste, reuse, the minimisation of textiles going to landfill and the regeneration of natural systems.
  • Implement life cycle analysis to assess product impact and manufacturing methods. 
  • Develop an in-depth understanding of performance textiles and workwear.
  • Prepare and review technical packs and specification documents for sampling.
  • Engage with material and product testing in relation to performance requirements.
  • Design and develop new product ranges applying sustainable design strategies and systems thinking.
  • The Associate will be expected to interact with various stakeholders, this includes university academics, Beeswift management team, suppliers, manufacturers, recyclers, workwear users and students to fulfil the objectives of the role.
  • The Associate must also be adept at applying their knowledge to commercial projects, driving value and making an impact where possible, with an ability to solve problems and create innovative solutions.
  • The Associate must have the following key attributes to ensure the project’s successful completion.



  • A minimum 2:1 undergraduate qualification in Textile Design/ Garment Technologist or similar.
  • Knowledge of conducting life cycle analysis of product ranges and business processes. 
  • Experience in applying sustainable design strategies and circular solutions to product development.
  • Understanding of fabrics, materials, and the design of garment in a performance environment.
  • Experience of fabric sourcing and testing of materials to determine the wear characteristics, flammability, and comfort. 
  • Practical experience of pattern cutting and garment design with zero waste processes.
  • Excellent communication skills to express ideas effectively, orally, graphically and in writing to articulate complicated matters between the academics and the company project team members.
  • An ability to work to tight deadlines (with attention to detail) and maintain high standards of work.
  • An ability and aptitude to work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team; and self-management and planning skills to make optimum use of time; and 
  • Strong leadership skills in successfully implementing and embedding new innovations within a company or organisation.


  • Experience of inhouse or external testing of performance materials, preferably within a workwear environment.
  • Knowledge of PPE and relevant performance sector industry experience, specifically workwear. 
  • Experience in IP development and protection.
  • Knowledge of textiles and hardware within the context of closed material loops.
  • Academic acumen to enable successful reporting through research publications in academic journals and marketing/training materials.
  • A clean driving license and a willingness to travel to utility contracts throughout the UK.

On a personal note, the Associate should be enthusiastic, motivated, punctual, conscientious, trustworthy and a good team worker.

Interviews to take place w/c 22nd or 29th July 2024

For further information please contact Beth White at or Zoe Hillyard at or Sabine Lettman at

Further details: Job Description    

The appointed candidate will normally be employed through our subsidiary company BCU Support Services Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Birmingham City University. Appointees with prior LGPS membership who wish to enter the LGPS scheme will be able to do so, and will be employed by Birmingham City University directly


Birmingham City University is growing in quality and standing, with an academic STEAM agenda at the heart of our ambitions. We are transforming the lives of students and their communities, and want outstanding people to join us in taking us on the next stage of our exciting journey.  

Our students learn through doing. They are empowered throughout their educational journey, achieving significant educational gain and personal transformation.  

There has never been a better time to join us. Come and be part of the next exciting stage of our journey.


At the heart of our 2025 Strategy is our mission is to enable our students to transform their lives and to achieve their potential. Through our education and research, and the roles our graduates go on to play in the world, we not only support individuals to transform their lives, but we also play a part in transforming society.

Located in the centre of the UK’s second city, we are a university with a long heritage of innovation and of making, dating back to our origins in 1843 when we were founded as the Birmingham Government School of Design.  

Our heritage of making through innovation and its application through knowledge exchange, and of creative research and practice, today finds it expression in our STEAM agenda, in our research and enterprise, and in our commitment to challenge-based learning. Working across disciplines, and delivering impactful research and enterprise, interdisciplinarity is at the heart of the continuing transformation of our academic portfolio. 


Birmingham is home to a rich and diverse range of communities. Our students reflect this rich cultural mix, and we are continuing to work to make sure that this is also reflected in our broader university community. 

Birmingham City University values the quality and diversity of our staff. Our staff and student community is defined by our core values, which outline who we are as a University and how we work with each other. Our core values are we create opportunity, we think differently, and we build community. 

We are committed to equality, diversity and inclusion, continuously reviewing and improving our policies, practices, and procedures to ensure that we are promoting these in all aspects of our operations. We believe that by working together, combining our many different backgrounds and life experiences, we will empower each other to reach our full potential. 

We hold an Athena SWAN Bronze award in recognition of our commitment to improving employment practices for the advancement of gender equality.

Our University is located in one of the most culturally rich and diverse Cities in the UK, and it is our ambition to be the University for Birmingham and the surrounding region. The events of 2020 have highlighted the stark inequalities that Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Communities face and we are committed to removing the institutional barriers that our staff and students face and improve the representation, progression and success of staff and students from all backgrounds within higher education. To demonstrate this, we have signed up to the Race Equality Charter to show our commitment.

Birmingham City University has been recognised for its progress on LGBT+ equality with a Gold award in the Stonewall Index and have entered the Top 100 Employers 2023 for LGBT+ inclusion. Meanwhile, we are Disability Confident (Committed) and are on an exciting journey to advance our University to progress through the Disability Confident scheme.

We are also a Mindful Employer, which means we are committed to supporting the mental health and well-being of our staff, and we have also signed up to the Mental Health Charter led by student mental health charity Student Minds. Furthermore, we are signed up to The Technician Commitment - a university and research institution initiative supported by the Science Council and Gatsby Foundation – aiming to ensure visibility, recognition, career development and sustainability for technicians working in higher education and research.


The youngest city in Europe with under-25s accounting for nearly 40% of the population, Birmingham is a city full of energy and enthusiasm and is a great place to live and work.

Based in the heart of England, the city is easily accessible by road, rail and air. Birmingham New Street station has recently undergone major redevelopment, while the city is at the heart of the high-speed rail network, HS2.  HS2 will provide new rapid rail travel connecting Birmingham City Centre to London and the rest of the network from the new Curzon Street Station – adjacent to Birmingham City University’s City Centre Campus – and will be one of the most environmentally friendly stations in the world.

The city’s appetite for progression is boundless, and it has been championing innovation since the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution, reflected in Birmingham City University’s new STEAMhouse building which opened in October 2022 and is home to an inter-disciplinary community of entrepreneurs, businesses, academic researchers, and students offering a wealth of support to companies of all sizes to boost growth through innovation to address commercial and societal challenges.

Birmingham is brimming with great theatres, museums, the world-famous Birmingham City University Royal Birmingham Conservatoire, as well as beautiful historical buildings and the iconic Library of Birmingham. It also has amazing concert and sporting venues including Edgbaston Cricket ground, which Birmingham City University has a long-standing partnership with. It is also home to the Alexander Stadium, which is the stunning new home for Birmingham City University’s sport courses. The Stadium was one of the main event spaces for the Birmingham Commonwealth Games in 2022, which saw the eyes of the world on the city, and Birmingham City University staff and students played pivotal roles - including designing the official medals for winning athletes. 

Birmingham’s vibrant dining scene offers something for all tastes, including Michelin star restaurants, Spiceal Street at the Bullring, the Chinese Quarter, and the famous Balti Triangle.

The city also provides a great place to shop, being home the Bullring and Grand Central, the luxurious Mailbox Birmingham and the world-famous home of British bling - the Jewellery Quarter, which is home to Birmingham City University’s School of Jewellery.

From Harvey Nichols, Selfridges and the beautiful arcades and independents, to the city’s historic markets in Digbeth, the shops in Birmingham offer a plethora of choice.

BCU Values underpin how we work in achieving the ambitions set out in our Strategy and Priorities, and are the principles that unite the way we work together and for our students.

Location: Birmingham
Salary: £40,000 to £50,000 per annum
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 20th June 2024
Closes: 7th July 2024
Job Ref: 052024-194
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