Find out why Hobbs apprentice, Alicia Noble, decided to complete an apprenticeship, what she enjoys the most and the many skills she has learnt so far.
“After finishing school, my original plan was always to go to university. I wanted to study English literature but had also debated whether to continue with art and textiles and do an art foundation as my school work experience had been in textiles. Due to narrowly missing out on my first choice university place by a few marks, I decided to take a year out to think things through with the intention of reapplying. In this year, I took a job as a retail assistant at my local Fat Face store. As well as serving customers, I was allowed to dress the windows and help with the visual merchandising and was also invited to help with the setting up of a flagship store. It was during this time that I decided that my end goal would be to get a job in the Fashion Industry. After a discussion with a family friend in a senior industry position, I was advised to get a job and work my way up from the bottom rather than pursue the university route. I took the advice and started applying for apprenticeships.”
Explaining what she enjoys the most about completing an apprenticeship Alicia tells us;
“My apprenticeship training is as a garment technologist with the ladies’ wear company, Hobbs. I have loved my time working with the company. I work in a small, tight, team and have been fortunate in that I have been able to work on a range of different product areas: woven, knitted and jersey. Hobbs has also exposed me to opportunities that I may not have had in a bigger company and has allowed me to have a very hands on role within the team. I have worked very closely with suppliers and been able to approach company directors with problems. Hobbs has also given me the ownership and trust to tackle issues from incorrect care labels to fit issues. I have particularly enjoyed my time working on the specialist area of knitwear and jersey and learning how they differ from woven products. Knitwear is a very creative product, it allows the autonomy to develop the stitch not just the fit, which gives the freedom to create truly unique designs. Overall, the company structure at Hobbs has given me the scope to get a real insight into how the fashion world works as we work closely with both the buying and design teams and this aspect has added to my enjoyment of the training.”
“Before I started my apprenticeship I had never measured a garment before. The Textiles AS Level I had studied at school had always been in art and design, so I had very little knowledge of garment construction. My one day at Fashion Enter and my four days’ work a week at Hobbs have helped me to amass a huge amount of knowledge in the past 18 months. Since starting, I have learnt how to measure a garment, how to grade a garment, how garments are produced and worked with suppliers all over the world. I have personal responsibility to manage supplier critical path for my departments and ensure samples come in on time. I also manage and monitor returns to ensure money from manufacturing faults is refunded back into the business. I have also gained knowledge and understanding of fit and pattern cutting. Hobbs have taught me manual grading on coats, trousers and dresses. I have also been taught how to read and approve test reports and been given training on testing methods. Further to this I have learnt about the quality of threads and zips and how important these are for garment performance and longevity.”
“I would strongly recommend apprenticeships to young people, particularly in highly competitive industries such as fashion. Schools often offer limited careers advice; they tend to focus on the university or traditional routes rather than making students aware of the huge variety of roles or apprenticeships available. I had never heard about the role of a garment technologist until I started doing my own research into fashion apprenticeships. Such opportunities were never mentioned at school. I am now 21 and once I have finished my apprenticeship will have gained 2 years in-depth training with a well-respected company, in an industry I love. I have had the chance to work alongside and learn from people who have vast amounts of knowledge and experience and acquired essential hands on practical skills alongside theoretical ones. I would never have been able to achieve this without Fashion Enter, Hobbs and the apprenticeship scheme.”