Natalie Massenet, chairman of the British Fashion Council, has pledged to raise £10m over the next 10 years to invest in and attract young design talent in London.
As part of the move, the BFC has launched three new initiatives to support future talent in the industry, including a fashion studio assistant apprenticeship, a national fashion and business Saturday club and an exceptional talent scholarship.
It has teamed up with University of the Arts London to launch the fashion studio assistant apprenticeship in October. The apprenticeship will support non-design students and encompasses a six-month foundation core followed by a 12-month course focused on one area of the business, namely production development, sales and logistics or fashion marketing and communications.
The Saturday club is a national initiative launched by the BFC and the Sorrell Foundation, aimed at giving young people aged 14-16 the opportunity to study fashion at their local college or university for free. Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Brighton have been involved in the pilot.
After running MA scholarships since 1998, this year the BFC is expanding its support to students on BA fashion design courses in the UK.
In addition the industry body has launched an emergency fund for students who need financial support. The exceptional talent scholarship will be available to BA students on an ad hoc basis.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the BFC, said: “The BFC is dedicated to securing future talent and establishing pathways through education and into employment.
“We recognise that institutionalised education and specific design courses are not for everyone so we are pleased to announce a new apprenticeship programme that will help young people to learn about all areas of the fashion industry and the Saturday clubs, which will provide even younger people the opportunity to learn about the fashion industry.”
Proceeds from the 2016 BFC Fashion Awards will go to the BFC Education Foundation. Other donors include Charlotte Olympia, Coach, Eiesha Bharti Pasricha, Marks & Spencer, Mulberry and Massenet.