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Apprenticeships to double this year, predicts Skillset

The number of fashion and textile apprentices in the UK is expected to double by the end of the year, after a deal between sector skills council Skillset and learning provider Pearson.

Pearson, which offers BTEC apprenticeship schemes for the creative industries, has signed up to deliver the learning for the Apprenticeship in Fashion and Textiles through its Edexcel award.

Skillset chief executive Dinah Caine said she expected a “huge increase” in the number of training providers able to offer the Skillset apprenticeship. At present, more than 300 apprentices on the scheme are working at companies including Mulberry and Asos. Caine expects this to reach 600 by the end of 2012.

The announcement comes ahead of this year’s National Apprenticeship Week, from February 6-10, which aims to raise the profile of apprenticeships.

This week, the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS) announced a decline in applications for creative arts and design courses, including fashion and textiles. Applications this year fell 16% to 227,729. This suggests a potential growth in interest in apprenticeships.

Adam Watling, graduate employability officer at the London College of Fashion, said he had noticed a change in students’ thinking about employment prospects.

“Three to four years ago they were thinking they could pick and choose but now people are coming to me a lot more seriously,” he said. “Parents are thinking it’s a lot of money to send their child to university and they want to make sure they get a job when they’re finished.”


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