Explaining why she decided to complete an apprenticeship rather than going to university Emily is confident an apprenticeship was the right route for her.
Emily is currently studying an apprenticeship with retailer Hobbs, where she spends four days a week gaining practical hands on work experience, before coming to Fashion Enter for her in-house training.
Why you chose to do an apprenticeship?
“After securing a place at university to study a fashion course I wasn't sure that university was right for me. I looked into apprenticeship schemes and it was the missing piece to the puzzle. A full time job gaining me two years of industry experience in a well known brand that is Hobbs, two years of training both at work and at college, no university debt to pay off, and a small income. It was an absolute no brainer as to which path I would take and it is the best decision I made. It has taught me the different areas of a fashion business and it has allowed me to discover the right pathway for me within the industry. I was never aware of the vast career possibilities within Fashion. I always knew I didn't want to be a designer. I wanted to be involved in construction however, didn't want to physically make the garments. I was never aware of a role that could fulfil that. Garment Technology allows me to be fully involved in the fit and development process which is exactly what I always wanted to do.”
What do you enjoy most about your apprenticeship?
“I really enjoy my apprenticeship and I wake up every day looking forward to my day ahead. Every garment is different and every day is different creating new learning possibilities each and every day. I love a challenge, something to work on and try to crack a solution. This is a huge part of the job, each problem requires its own unique solution. I have been given the opportunity to work on both woven and knitted product areas which are both very different but equally as interesting. Woven product relies on manipulation of the pattern to create shaping and design features whereas the creativity and detail on knitted products are determined through the stitch variation and intricacy of each stitch. This has given me the knowledge and versatility to work across both product areas.”
What skills you have learnt?
“Throughout the course of the apprenticeship I have learnt the role of a Junior Garment Technologist to allow me to progress to the next level upon completion. Just a few of the skills I have learnt that are now becoming my responsibilities are:
- Taking part in fit sessions being able to identify issues and understanding how to communicate with the factories on how to rectify.
- Sending comments back to factories illustrating what we have identified in fits.
- Measuring garments, understanding grading and creating graded specs.
- Looking at shipment samples prior to shipping and giving factories approval to ship
- Learning about fabric and garment testing. Understanding what tests are required on different product types and how the tests are carried out.
- Learning to assess the test reports, to provide the customer with the best guidance on the care label to allow the product to last and meet its full potential which in return allows the customer to trust the brand.
- Managing the critical path on the technical side ensuring dates are met to achieve the agreed delivery. This requires an understanding of each stage and is communicated back to suppliers on a weekly basis.
- Holding supplier meetings in regards to critical path management
- Reviewing my product department returns and raising debits accordingly with guidance from my line manager.
I work alongside senior members within the team to ensure I get experience of different areas within the job role. As I develop further I will gain more responsibility in each area within the role. I continue to ask questions to take advantage of the skill other members of the team have acquired over the years.”
Would you recommend apprenticeships to other young students?
“My experience as an apprentice has been invaluable to me. I believe I have gained a wealth of knowledge and will continue to develop further. I would recommend this to all young people especially those wanting to go into the fashion industry. Industry experience is key and the apprenticeship has allowed me to focus on my strengths, gaining experience whilst learning at the same time. I can honestly say I have discovered a job that I love and will continue to develop in hope to move up the career ladder within the sector.”