The Duke of York has thrown his weight behind Drapers’ Save Our Skills (SOS) campaign, which encourages fashion manufacturers to take advantage of apprenticeship schemes to ensure essential ‘making’ skills are not lost with the present generation of textile workers.
Prince Andrew, the UK representative for international trade and investment, invited 16 representatives from the fashion, design and textile industries to Buckingham Palace this week for a discussion on the need to train young people
in relevant manufacturing skills, focusing on apprenticeships.
Drapers has been lobbying for government-supported apprenticeships since the launch of the SOS initiative in March.
It is understood the Duke favours the creation of a regional network of ‘centres of excellence’ that would work together to promote apprenticeships on both a regional and national basis. He believes the scheme is vital to improving co-operation between schools and the fashion industry, to promote apprenticeship opportunities and to enable smaller businesses to get involved in training.
Skillset, the sector skills council, has been tasked with leading the development of the local programmes, although further details are as yet unknown.
Douglas Cordeaux, managing director of premium clothing manufacturer Fox Brothers, attended the meeting. His company’s year-long search for two apprentices was used as a case study to highlight the difficulties of finding suitable candidates.
It has since appointed two apprentices - a local non-graduate and a textile graduate.