I am delighted to have received the Textile Society’s Professional Development Award. The concept of delivering the ABC Level 5 Diploma, an Ofqual regulated programme and highest UK standard in Bespoke Tailoring, as a stand-alone alternative to the traditional apprenticeship is officially award-winning!
The Society states in their announcement: “The selection panel were particularly interested in bringing an ABC qualification of tailoring to the North” and continues: “the application shows initiative and enterprise, specialist knowledge and strong professional experience. The strength of this application is its potential to disseminate knowledge through vocational education”.
As part of ITV’s ‘Tonight’ programme, I recently spoke about the skills shortage in the UK and how, in our sector, emphasis is being laid on increasing the provision of practical skills training in response to that shortage. There is a big offer out there for conceptual programmes but the real shortage is with practical training.
Filming took place at the Tailoring Academy, which I founded in response to what I know is an enormous demand for traditional tailoring skills: young people up and down the country – not just in our field but across all disciplines – want to learn to make things by hand again, a powerful antidote in an era of pretty relentless consumerism.
Much of my work focuses on developing skills in those older than school age. Typically, applicants are self-taught, have a segmented background of different roles in the industry or are fashion design graduates with a degree under their belt. These candidates are aware they don’t have the technical skills, pattern and garment construction in particular, they need to progress in their chosen career.
At the Academy, which shares premises with my bespoke tailoring house, students receive the entire bespoke skill set, giving them control over the process from start to finish. Once they have completed the one-year course, they are in a position to deliver the highest quality in garment making, enabling them to set up their own business or seek employment equipped with an acknowledged qualification.