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The FTA Heads to the House of Commons


Among the Principals, Governors and Chief Executives of further education colleges were MPs and Peers including Baroness Tanni Grey Thompson and Iain Stewart MP. The audience was addressed by Lilian Greenwood MP, Shadow Transport Secretary, who highlighted the importance of gaining skills and further education.

Speeches by MP’s were followed by insightful interviews with three apprentices who have all begun successful careers via vocational pathways.

HOC dec 15 attendees fta

2 dec Sharren Awere

Sharren Awere pictured above first left alongside Razina Bapu, both spoke at the parliamentary reception  


Sharren Awere, an apprentice at Fashion Enter, has just been offered a permanent job as a Technical Garment Assistant at Marks & Spencer. Speaking about her experience Sharon said:

“It was a dream of mine to get into footwear; I was fortunate enough to meet Jenny Holloway the CEO of Fashion Enter two years ago and found out about their Apprenticeships. I found out last week about my full time position and I’m really excited to be able to tell you all about it.”

Also speaking at the reception from the Fashion Technology Academy was Pattern Cutting Apprentice Razina Bapu. Here is her personal account of the event:

‘At the start of December, I was given the opportunity to attend a Parliamentary reception at the House of Commons through my apprenticeship with the Fashion Technology Academy (FTA), which was a huge honour for myself and the FTA team.

The whole experience of visiting the Houses of Parliament was surreal and exciting for me, as I had never been before, which meant that I didn’t exactly know what to expect.

Upon arrival, we all had to go through security checks this was a slightly daunting experience but was carried out swiftly and systematically. We were directed to the Members’ dining room, which was where the reception was being held. As we walked through the grand hallways, we were all lost in admiration of the beautiful décor and the historical features within the House of Commons; it was very hard to fight the temptation to take photographs of it all!

HOC vist dec 15

As we entered the Members’ dining room, we were greeted by the ABC Awards team, who were all very friendly and keen to learn more about the FTA.

I was approached by the host; who asked me if I would be willing to share my journey with the room particularly my apprenticeship and why I had chosen this pathway.

 At first I was reluctant to speak out in front of so many respected members of parliament and visitors, due to my shy nature. However I managed to overcome my initial apprehension and get up on stage!

It was also incredible to find out a bit about the journey of other apprentices, and how similar some of them were to mine. This really made me realise how much more practical it is for young people to undertake apprenticeships rather than going to university to do a course that they may not even enjoy or benefit from.

Overall, the FTA team thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being at the House of Commons and talking to everyone who attended the event. I personally found this experience very enjoyable, and useful for my personal development as an individual, as I now feel more confident with my communication skills when meeting new people. This is something which hasn’t always been my strength.’

Fashion Enter, an ABC Awards Showcase Centre, were invited to the reception by the emfec to celebrate their excellent work and the launch of their new Fashion Technology Academy, the first of its kind in the UK.

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