Apprentices Experience A Chunking Seminar

Fashion-Enter and the FTA held their third ‘Chunking Seminar’ for their current cohort of apprentices. What is a Chunking Seminar? It’s a six-monthly masterclass presented by senior staff members of the Fashion-Enter team with the aim of bringing learning to life within an industry context.

Held on Wednesday 24th June apprentices at all levels were provided with a three-hour seminar which ‘chunks the learning’ that our apprentices undertake and relates the information to current industry practices. These insightful seminars are an absolute must for an apprentice to ensure that they are industry ready to the latest ethical standards, sustainability aware and know the latest digital technology that is changing the way the fashion industry works. The only way this can be achieved is to hold such seminars whereby each department head explains their job and engages with the learners with a series of statements, scenario settings and deliberately incorrect statements regarding the garment manufacturing industry.

The seminar started with Caroline Ash providing a macro view of how the fashion industry is negatively impacting the globe today. From carbon emissions to landfill, chemical contamination to excessive water usage the fashion industry has had a huge impact on the climate. In addition unethical labour practices have created trafficking issues and many infringements of the Modern Slavery Act. Caroline also provided a review of what sustainable fibres and fabrics are available today and how sustainability needs consideration at every stage.

Jenny Holloway then gave an overview of what exactly is ethical production and how can production be managed – what are the tricks of the trade that everybody should know when they are working in the fashion industry and are conducting factory inspections. She also explained how Fashion-Enter also works with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) sending their on the ground staff to the factory to ensure that they are factory ready to swoop on illegal factories.

Louis-Christian Pendegrass, Apprenticeship Tutor, then followed the presentations by Jenny and Caroline with a short presentation and Q&A on sustainability and biodiversity built around World Environment Day on 5th June, a topic that was selected for the main June Fashion-Enter enrichment topics.

On 5th June, for the Fashion-Enter June enrichment program, Louis sent all apprentices research material focused on sustainability and biodiversity and a Q&A task, posing the question ‘What does sustainability mean to me?’. This task was set in order for all apprentices to present their answers during the Q&A, based on the research material and their own research, at the end of the chunking seminar session.

Louis started by explaining that we are now living in what is known as the ‘Anthropocene Era’, which means the first era to be named after the impacts of human actions on Earth and discussed how the fashion industry has contributed to this era by causing biodiversity loss, climate change, pollution and excessive landfill use. Louis discussed the domino effect surrounding biodiversity loss and how the fashion industry is not only increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, but how it is also contributing to a rapid decline in biodiversity. Louis then went on to discuss how the industry is responding to its industrial, social and environmental impacts, with researchers and businesses across the globe working hard to find solutions to counter or end the damaging effects of its development and supply chains.

Louis presented ‘innovators for change’, which are businesses built with the purpose of making positive change to the industry. Louis presented three businesses in focus and explained how these three in particular have been developing new technology to create entirely new, lab made sustainable and biodegradable fabrics, have committed to producing and publishing public impact reports which provide accountability and transparency to their sustainable and ethical commitments as a business and have been elevating a circular economy manufacturing system, by recycling fibres to create regenerated fabrics.

Finally Louis summarised and asked all apprentices to share their answers to the question posed on 5th June ‘What does sustainability mean to me?’ and to share any other organisations they have come across in their research who are making waves for change in the fashion and textiles industry towards sustainable practices. There were some great, inspiring questions and the excellent feedback speaks for itself.

Apprentice Chloe: “I got to understand more about how a factory is actually conducted, especially as it’s quite difficult to visit one. I have more appreciation for innovation in sustainability and will look out for what the company I am working with is doing in regards to this.”

These Chunking Sessions are vital to the success of Fashion-Enter’s apprenticeship and learning programme and helps to explain the success Fashion-Enter received in the recent Ofsted Audit; Fashion-Enter was awarded two ‘Significant Progress’ (highest accolade) and one ‘Reasonable Progress’ to ensure apprentices benefit from high quality training. Tap here to find out more.