Cutter, Mulberry, aged 20
Still just 20 years old, Mitch Allender is already a key member of luxury acccessories brand Mulberry’s production team at Rookery in Somerset - and one of the first graduates of the brand’s apprenticeship scheme, which was set up in 2008 in conjunction with sector skills council Skillfast UK and Bridgwater College.
Mulberry is keen to keep the skills needed for handbag production local, and Allender, who joined the scheme straight from college, has gained all the technical skills he needs to be a cutting whizz. During the apprenticeship, he worked alongside the existing team of craftsmen, qualifying with both NVQ and City & Guilds certificates.
“There is a lot of satisfaction working with the leather and seeing it move from being a full skin to it coming off the end of line,” Allender says. He is fascinated by the bespoke and prototype bag process and would eventually like to get involved with those.
Mulberry supply director Ian Scott says: “Investing in the skills of luxury craftsmanship is an important strategy for Mulberry and our apprenticeship scheme has been a fantastic success. I have no doubt that not only is it securing the skills required for our long-term success, but I am convinced that the future managers of our UK factory will be today’s apprentices.”
It certainly looks like the investment in apprenticeships is paying off for Allender, as well as for Mulberry.