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'If you're going to take on an apprentice…rest assured’

Industry view from John West, Development manager at sector skills council Creative Skillset.

Last year I found myself drawn into the world of reality TV.

The mission: to hire seven apprentices to make Mary Portas’s new underwear range, Kinky Knickers.

Creative Skillset’s priority was that the people employed would attain nationally recognised qualifications. With this in mind, all new employees have received training through the Creative Skillset Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles, delivered by Key Training. This apprenticeship has been developed to allow businesses to shape the development of their new recruits to their business needs.

I helped advise on the attributes that interviewers should be looking for in the candidates, as well as sitting on the panel itself. We brokered the relationship between Headen & Quarmby and Key Training, and advised on how

the apprenticeship should be structured. Our people were also on hand on the day to provide every applicant with advice on working in the industry.

Mary’s Bottom Line highlights the importance of filling the emerging skills gap in our industries with new talent because fashion and textiles manufacturing in Britain has an ageing workforce.

If you’re going to take on an apprentice, but are worried about the financial implications, rest assured. The assistance provided by government equals around £10,000 worth of training per apprentice. There is government funding of up to £1,500 for small companies to help subsidise wages.

Find out everything you need to know about hiring an apprentice at

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