Education & Skills at Fashion – Enter Ltd (Wales)
Education and skills are all a part of manufacturing’s bigger and future picture. After celebrating it’s first anniversary in October this year Fashion-Enter (Wales) has been working with the local council and college to ensure further training opportunities in the fashion manufacturing sector.
This week (7th December 21) Fashion-Enter (Wales) warmly welcomed a group of 21 students and 3 staff from the College in Newtown. NPTC Group of Colleges, formed in 2013, consists of four colleges; Afan College, Brecon Beacons College, Neath College and Newtown College, which together with five other campuses, cover over 30% of the landmass of Wales. The students and staff that visited are currently studying Art & Design, Fashion & Textiles, Graphic Design, Photography & Painting.
Commercial Manager Eddie Bebb began with an overview of the company. He explained how Fashion-Enter CEO Jenny Holloway was upset to hear of the sad demise of Laura Ashley. Jenny is passionate about ‘Made in the UK’ and in particular, the skills of experienced stitchers, who are very hard to come by these days. Jenny wanted to ensure that these valuable skills weren’t lost and to provide the ex-Laura Ashley stitching staff with employment. This was how the factory in Newtown, Wales began.
Jenny Holloway CEO commented: “When you have highly skilled stitchers that have 35-years plus experience it would be a dreadful waste of skills not to pass this technical knowledge on. Over the last six months we have developed a very close working relationship with the creative curriculum of the college and we have worked with Cary’s Jones and Alec Thomas to ensure that we are fully ready on due diligence and setting the Level 1 Award in Stitching to the right target audience.
“We have contacted Alice Kirwan, Employment Liaison Officer at Powys County Council, who will be supporting on recruitment. There is no point moaning about a skills shortage – we need to proactive and positive to ensure we have generations of vibrant new stitchers ahead of us! Our grateful thanks to Nicola Thornton-Scott for her amazing support and I have to say ‘yes Nicola you were so right all along!'”
Following the introduction the NPTC Group of students had a guided tour and Eddie fully explained each area of the factory floor and each stage of production step by step. Jenny followed up by presenting a variety of garments and explained the different fabric types, prints, colours, pieces per garment and garment construction.
The staff and students engaged in a question-and-answer session which they really enjoyed, this helped everyone engage and interact discussing bestselling styles, fabrics, colours, creating your own brand etc.
Jenny also talked about the launch of the in-house ‘Made in Wales’ brand Spyce Jones http://www.spycejones.com/ and how the name is a play on Pryce-Jones the pioneering mail order entrepreneur and his iconic Newtown building, the location of Fashion-Enter (Wales) today.
The Fashion-Enter (Wales) team will be working with the college in the new year and will launch the successful Level 1 Stitching course. Devised in 2013 The Stitching Academy was created in collaboration with ASOS.com, DWP and Haringey Council to offer SEG accredited stitching skills qualification at both Level 1 and 2. Fashion-Enter wrote these two qualifications as they did not exist in the country.
The company will continue to develop its apprenticeship offering and is also planning a fashion show in April which Kornit Digital will be involved with. The students were very excited and already coming up with ideas of what they would like to do. Jenny additionally invited the staff and students to visit the London factory in the New Year. The visit was well received and made for a successful and inspirational day!