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Skillfast aims to change mainstream training to suit employers' needs

Feb '07
A meeting hosted by Skillfast-UK, the sector skills council for apparel, footwear and textiles, recently brought together representatives from fashion networks and mentoring groups from across the UK with industry bodies including the British Fashion Council and UK Trade and Industry to discuss the support available for design graduates.

The meeting at the Fashion and Textile Museum was the first stage in a process that aims to ensure that fashion design graduates are equipped to face the challenges of industry or self employment and has resulted in a pledge to create a voluntary code of practice for design mentors, a process that will be lead by Skillfast-UK.

As the sector skills council, Skillfast-UK aims to change mainstream training and education to suit employers' needs. It set up this forum to explore what support is available for fashion designers in the UK with the aim of ensuring that in future graduates will know exactly what help and advice is available and where they should go to find it.

Newham College who partnered with Skillfast-UK in this event unveiled the findings of a mapping exercise of post-graduate support revealing how self-employed fashion design graduates often hit difficulties after around 30 months of business. This research will now pave the way for the creation of an online portal which will enable designers to see what support is available to them and tap into appropriate resources.

Skillfast-UK's Skills Director Chas Hubbard says: “Our research shows that £70 million is spent each year on fashion education in the UK's colleges and universities with around 3,000 graduates hitting the job market each year. It is not clear however what support is on offer after they graduate."

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