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Fashion industry to share £1m apprenticeship scheme investment

The government has given £1m to training body Skillset for apprenticeship schemes to help tackle the dearth of textile and garment construction skills.

The National Apprenticeship Service has given the £1m investment to Skillset, provider of skills and training support for the creative industries, to build degree level skills identified by creative employers as important to driving growth.

Potential apprenticeship roles within the sector include textile and digital printing technician, technical textile technician, senior pattern technician and senior tailor.

Skillset said it will begin the process of developing the apprenticeships in consultation with the industry, with the first places set to be offered in spring next year.

The scheme, which will run for three years, will focus on showing the benefits of apprenticeships to employers and potential apprentices and provide employer support. It will be overseen by industry advisory groups from each sector of the creative industries.  

Just last month Scottish knitwear companies, including Hawick Knitwear, Johnston’s of Elgin and Barrie, joined forces to create an apprenticeship scheme, that will see 50 apprentices trained in handcraft and machine production techniques as well as milling, clean make up, finishing and processing.

Drapers launched a campaign, Save Our Skills (SOS), at the start of the year, promoting the need to tackle the lack of textile and garment construction skills in the UK caused by a shift in manufacturing overseas.

The campaign is backed by top industry executives, including Harold Tillman, chairman of the British Fashion Council and owner of Jaeger and Aquascutum, who said at the time of launch, “We need to teach skills and if we don’t have the centres for teaching those skills we have got to encourage apprenticeships in a way that is [accredited], and one would hope there will be teaching centres too.”

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