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***UPDATED***I am currently looking for work but want to know the best ways to occupy my time whilst looking for a new role – are there any training schemes you can recommend?

Most fashion and textiles employers tell us that technical skills (pattern-cutting, grading, sewing skills, CAD, production and business skills) are more sought-after than ever.  Even people on the retail side can benefit from understanding how things are made – particularly buyers and quality control.  Anything you do to increase your skills in this area is likely to pay dividends.  What’s available depends on where you are in the UK.  Check the relevant trade association for info, or your local uni.

Linda Florance, Chief Executive, Skillfast-UK

There are a number of things you could do that can help your career search:

Consider using an outplacement company to support you in your search - they will often have relationships that extend way outside of your network to help you tap into unadvertised vacancies and support you to make effective speculative approaches, plan your next career move or longer term career;

Look for any free conference/seminar places - as well as a great opportunity to develop your technical knowledge they offer fantastic networking opportunities to let people know you are looking for your next career move and allow you to show a prospective employer that you are conscientious and have been active whilst out of work;

Are there changes in working practices or guidelines that having the most up-to-date knowledge would give you an edge over other applicants - if there are, do consider whether updating your skills and knowledge is a worthwhile investment from a time and cost perspective into your future?;

Contact your local Learning and Skills Council or Job Centre Plus- is there any funding available to support you to develop your skills or retrain?;

Contact your local business link and ask where there are small companies who could benefit from your expertise in a mentoring or support capacity either on a reduced rate or free for a while;

Help employers find you by posting a profile on Linked In and ask colleagues for recommendations - having an up-to-date profile can help remind potential employers you are available and actively looking for work; and

Take a look at a local groups or charities that could benefit from your skills or time where you could contribute on a voluntary or part-time basis. It can do wonders for your self-esteem and will give you a great story to talk to a prospective employer about at interview

Nadine Jones, Consultant

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