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Fashion Enter to launch textiles training academy in Leicester
A new project to deliver apprenticeships and accredited training for the textiles industry is set to be launched in Leicester.
Leicester City Council has teamed up with training and technical skills provider Fashion Enter and local clothing company Ethically Sourced Products to develop a new textiles training centre – the Leicester Fashion Technology Academy (LFTA).
Operated by Fashion Enter, the new academy will offer the opportunity to work towards entry-level qualifications in core industry skills including pattern-making, fabric inspection, laying and cutting, machine maintenance and stitching. People can then work towards advanced certificates and progress onto one of Fashion Enter’s apprenticeship schemes for retail/etail employers.
Fashion Enter, the not-for-profit social enterprise based in both London and Newtown, Wales, is recognised as a centre of excellence for the development of skills in the fashion and textiles industries. Fashion Enter set up its successful Fashion Technology Academy in North London in 2015, with Leicester becoming the second city it has launched a fashion academy in.
Jenny Holloway, director of Fashion Enter, said: “We have worked with Leicester over the last five years and we know what a major cluster of garment manufacturing there is. We now have a unique opportunity to create a quality-based hub that will engage with retailers and manufacturers to create a new generation of highly trained specialists. These are exciting times indeed.”
The new training centre will be based on the top floor of Ethically Sourced Products’ factory premises in Spinney Hills. The company’s expansion into its new Leicester city premises was supported by a £1.5m loan from the city council’s investment fund. This helped the company to completely rebuild five derelict warehouses on Stonebridge Street to create a modern new manufacturing base.
Leicester has the second largest concentration of textile and fashion manufacturing businesses in the UK and the city council is investing £300,000 to help set up the pilot project. The new academy will also look to work closely with local textiles and fashion manufacturing businesses.
Deputy city mayor, Cllr Adam Clarke, added: “This is an incredibly positive move for the textiles industry in Leicester and an initiative we are proud to invest in to show our commitment to fair working practices, high standards and highly-skilled local jobs.
“It builds on the work we have done since the city mayor formed the Leicester Labour Market Partnership in 2019, with the specific aim of working with our partners to tackle problems, raise standards and highlight best practice in the local textiles industry.”
The new Leicester Fashion Technology Academy is planning to open in early summer, following refurbishment of the new premises, with delivery of an initial taster programme.