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FRA Awards: Practical experience wins out

The annual Fashion Retail Academy Awards, where this year’s crop of talented graduates were congratulated by Arcadia boss Sir Philip Green and education secretary Michael Gove among others, proved you just can’t beat pracitcal work experience in the field.

Outgoing principal Karen Dennison told attendees the FRA’s USP is the industry placements it sends it students on, showing practical experience wins out every time.

The event was held at the FRA on London’s Greese Street on Wednesday (July 9), where there were 17 awards in total, four of which were The Sponsor Awards for Outstanding Students.

The F&F at Tesco Award went to Jessica Robinson. Presented by group clothing chief executive Jason Tarry, he described her as an “enigma” who had struggled at school but excelled at the FRA, achieving a distinction in more than 90% of her assignments, and joked they would now like to recruit her.

Louisa Holden scooped The Next Award, and was praised by outgoing group product director Christos Angelides for approaching her coursework as if she was going to work, and as a result she will now join eight other ex-FRA alums as she takes on a trainee buyer role at the fashion chain.

Eloise Smith received the Marks & Spencer Award, and was similarly praised for her initiative. Green presented the final Arcadia Award to Jess Sporle. He said: “It’s important to get up and love what you do, and if you don’t then things don’t go well. But she loves what she does.” Sporle did a placement at Wallis as a garment technologist, and will now go on to do a paid six month placement as a result of her performance.

With more than 400 graduates, Green told Drapers that with the continued growth of multichannel, the future for the FRA will have to embrace more technology-related courses in addition to its existing offer.

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