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Put people development at the top of your agenda

Stephen Selby managing director, Success Appointments

When we became involved with the Next Generation project late last year, I viewed the initiative as being as much about PR as about supporting talent in the fashion industry. I’m delighted to say that, having attended the first Next Generation Academy day on March 26, the ratio has switched heavily in favour of the latter.

I speak for all the delegates and speakers who attended in saying that the day provided a great amount of inspiration, information and stimulation.

The talks were excellent, and were punctuated with several networking sessions where everyone met to discuss and exchange views. We at Success Appointments were greatly impressed by the enthusiasm and drive of the young professionals we met. They came from a wide variety of backgrounds: multiples, indies, brands, buying, design, stores and HR. If this is representative of the quality of young people coming through the industry, then none of us need worry about retaining our number one position in world fashion.

While plenty of credit can be given for providing the job opportunities and training that are allowing them to flourish, we always need more. We need more practical opportunities in the form of internships, apprenticeships, work experience and training schemes to enable those leaving education to reach the level of the talented

individuals whom we met last week. Every employer needs to play their part. People development has suffered over the past few years, and it now needs to be back on top of your business strategy.

We hope to continue to be associated with this excellent programme.

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