The official launch of the first ever Fashion Technology Academy (FTA) aims to boost the UK garment sector.
Run by social enterprise, Fashion Enter, the academy has the potential to train more than 1,000 people ever year, helping them work towards qualifications in pattern making; fabric inspection; laying and cutting; quality control; machine maintenance, and stitching.
Backed by high street retailer, ASOS, the FTA has secured upwards of £500,000 of investment from Haringey Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), and significant personal funds from Fashion Enter director, Jenny Holloway.
Holloway explained: “We really believe that the Fashion Technology Academy is the single most important initiative we have ever undertaken, providing 1,000 people with work-based skills that will lead to employment.
“With the growth in on-shoring of garment manufacturing there is no better time to launch the FTA. It’s a real collaboration between many partners and we have to thank Haringey Council and the DWP for their financial backing, it has made the vision a reality.”
The FTA wants to be an extension of the successful ASOS.com Stitching Academy and offers qualifications across the entire garment life cycle.
It’s the first apparel manufacturing training academy in the country to operate alongside a live factory environment, ensuring students gain exposure to real manufacturing while training for their Level 1 qualification.
Investment has seen it fully equipped with machines; pressing equipment; fusing boards; machine tools; cartography; CADCAM; cutting benches, and knives.
Councillor Joe Goldberg, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Sustainability, said: “I’m proud that here in Haringey we are at the cutting edge of a fashion manufacturing boom and we are equipping our residents with the skills they need to secure long-term employment.
“It’s exciting that projects like the FTA create jobs, apprenticeships and training in industries that capture the imagination of young talent.”
16 year-old George Filkins was one of the first people to enrol at the Fashion Technology Academy.
He noted: “I am really enjoying my job as an apprentice sewing machine mechanic. My boss and mentor Kyri is fantastic and I am learning so much.
“Every Monday I go to the FTA and learn about the workplace, such as health and safety and working as part of a team. This will prepare me for when I’ve completed my apprenticeship and will hopefully give me a better chance of finding employment in the fashion sector.”