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Fashion training pledges are victories for SOS campaign

Drapers’ Save Our Skills (SOS) campaign took a step closer to victory this week.

Culture minister Ed Vaizey raised the prospect of government-backed fashion manufacturing apprenticeships and livery company The Clothworkers’ Foundation
pledged to contribute to a £3m study centre for textiles and fashion.

Vaizey said budget plans to fund another 50,000 apprenticeships presented an opportunity for fashion, and called on the industry to map out a blueprint for the scheme. “Within the large pile of money the Government has reserved for apprenticeships, potentially there is no reason why you couldn’t create a fashion manufacturing apprenticeship scheme that we could do in partnership with [sector skills council] Skillset and fashion manufacturers,” he said, in an exclusive
interview with Drapers.

“That is the perfect way of taking this through to a real, tangible benefit for fashion manufacturers. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport funded 10 or 11 apprenticeships in fashion retail [in London and 17 in the Southwest since January] … there is no reason why we shouldn’t progress that [to manufacturing].”

Meanwhile, The Clothworkers’ Foundation made an undisclosed donation to the V&A Museum to help relocate its fashion and textiles collection to Blythe House in
London’s Kensington, which will incorporate study and seminar facilities.

The Clothworkers’ Centre for Textiles and Fashion Study will also house a conservation studio. Meanwhile, prospective university fashion students were dealt a blow
this week when six of the UK’s fashion universities said they would increase tuition fees to £9,000 a year.

University College Falmouth and the universities of Leeds, Brighton, East London and Central Lancashire have all followed London’s University of the Arts, which includes Central Saint Martins College and the London College of Fashion, and raised fees to the maximum from the September 2012 intake.

London College of Fashion graduate and designer William Tempest told Drapers that, although fee hikes would reduce the glut of fashion design graduates unable to secure a job, increasing tuition fees could “only be a bad thing”.

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