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Fashion and retail win extra funding to improve training

Fashion and retail industries will receive extra government funding next year, in a bid to improve the standard of training and tackle skills shortages in the sector.

Skillsmart Retail and Skillfast-UK, the sector skills councils for retail and for clothing, footwear and textiles, have made a successful bid to join The National Skills Academy network.

The Learning and Skills Council (LSC) will work with businesses from each sector to determine how much funding the fashion and retail industries will receive. Funding from the LSC will be matched by industry partners. So far, Savile Row Bespoke, Mulberry and John Lewis have pledged their support for the fashion sector.

Skillsmart Retail hopes to develop a UK-wide network of physical and virtual retail "skills shops", offering a mix of work-based and e-learning, and helping to raise the skill levels of people entering the retail industry.

Money will be given to colleges and used to develop online learning.

A spokeswoman for the National Skills Academy network said: "The academies provide vocational training and it is a way for businesses to ensure they are getting the right people to work for them. They can take control of their recruitment process."

Newham College of Further Education in east London, along with partner Skillfast-UK, has been selected as a National Skills Academy for the fashion industry.

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