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Sector can find strength in numbers

Caroline Nodder

One of the biggest challenges for a sector as diverse as fashion is communicating effectively both within the trade and to government and the wider population.

One of the biggest challenges for a sector as diverse as fashion is communicating effectively both within the trade and to government and the wider population.

There are so many different groups, types of business and individuals involved and so many different important issues to tackle that the danger is we all go off to our own corners and reinvent the wheel. I was therefore delighted this week to attend a meeting that brought together virtually the whole sector to discuss one of the issues closest to our hearts at Drapers, that of the skills shortage in UK fashion manufacturing and how the trade can encourage more school leavers and graduates to consider a career in fashion.

Around the table were representatives from manufacturing, trade associations, government-funded training body Skillset, the design sector, Graduate Fashion Week and the retail sector, and it really highlighted that there are key areas of common interest where we can all work together.

Drapers launched the Save Our Skills (SOS) campaign at the start of the year to help publicise the skills shortfall that is preventing some UK manufacturers recruiting. As it turns out there is already a great deal of progress being made behind the scenes in plugging this gap and we will be launching the second stage of the campaign in the next few weeks aimed at presenting a bid to the Government for help in funding apprenticeships. We will also be asking all of you to get involved in a broader initiative to help promote the importance of UK fashion to this country. As an employer - whether in manufacturing or retailing - our sector is vital to UK plc and needs government backing. If every fashion business went to their MP to ask for their support then we can start to make our voice heard. I’d love to hear what you think so drop me a line at caroline.nodder@emap.com.

Caroline Nodder Editor-in-chief

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