BFC Education Foundation

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BFC Education Foundation

With the announcement that this year’s Fashion Awards will raise funds for the British Fashion Council (BFC) Education Foundation which attracts and supports future talent, the BFC outlines plans for the coming year. Dame Natalie Massenet has pledged that over the next ten years the aim is to raise £10million to invest in and attract the young talent we have studying here in London. On Friday Meribeth Parker and Sarah Mower MBE, co-presidents of the BFC Education Pillar, explained how those finances would be put to use at the annual Graduate Preview Day. Graduate Preview Day is an opportunity for fashion industry professionals to view the talent emerging from the UK’s top fashion colleges.

Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive, British Fashion Council, said, “The UK has undoubtedly the world’s leading reputation when it comes to art schools. The BFC is dedicated to securing future talent and establishing pathways through education and into employment. This includes working with global fashion players and businesses to support scholarships and competitions to support the most talented design students. We also recognise that institutionalised education and specific design courses are not for everyone. We are so pleased to announce a new apprenticeship programme that will help young people to learn about all areas of the fashion industry and also the Saturday Clubs which will provide even younger people the opportunity to learn about the fashion industry.” 

The British Fashion Council announces the Fashion Apprenticeship Standard

The BFC is supporting a group of fashion employers to develop the fashion studio assistant apprenticeship, alongside the University of the Arts London, who will be the awarding body that create the qualification. 

The key to creating further growth in the fashion sector is to offer career paths through other areas in the industry, not just in design talent. The apprenticeship will deliver specific skills that will ultimately contribute to all levels of a fashion business, developing teams to work alongside our design talent.

The fashion apprenticeship will be launched in October this year and encompass a six month foundation core which will then lead into twelve months focused on one area of the business; production development, sales and logistics or fashion marketing and communications with the aim to make Britain the best place to start, develop and grow creative, innovative businesses. To establish best practice the BFC has set up an Employer Group with representatives from Jasper Conran, Mario Schwab, Mary Katrantzou, Roksanda and Talk PR

Zoe Olive, Chair of the Fashion Apprenticeship Employer Group said, “As employers we feel this is a unique and unparalleled way into the industry which will provide learners with a broad understanding of the industry as it stands today and to equip them for work in a variety of fields. This course provides a sound knowledge and experience base from which to jump straight into employment or further education. We are incredibly excited to see the apprenticeship get off the ground and to welcome the first candidates for the programme into our industry.”

The British Fashion Council launches a new National Fashion & Business Saturday Club

The Fashion and Business Saturday club is a national initiative launched by the British Fashion Council and the Sorrell Foundation, aimed at giving young people, aged 14-16, the opportunity to study fashion at their local college or university for free.  

The aim of the Club is to inspire and nurture talent and provide opportunities to go on to further education in the creative industries. The colleges involved will provide expert tuition in a variety of fashion techniques, with a strong emphasis on enterprise skills. As well as attending practical weekly classes, Saturday Club members get to take part in exhibition visits, meet professionals working in the fashion industry, attend masterclasses and have their work exhibited at Somerset House in London.

Manchester Metropolitan University and the University of Brighton have been involved in the pilot. Manchester has a sportswear theme including masterclasses with Nabil Nayal, a previous recipient of a BFC Education Foundation Scholarship.  Brighton offers students the chance to try out fashion illustration, print design and machine sewing. The programme also included a masterclass in partnership with the Royal Opera House at their Costume Centre.

Lady Frances Sorrell said, “We are delighted about working with the BFC, a lot of young people are interested in clothing, it’s where they start their interest in creativity. The idea of the Saturday Club is to show 14-16 year olds pathways into different sides of the creative industries so they can discover new opportunities”

Amanda Hall, Costume maker and Royal Opera House Head of Workrooms, Thurrock, “It really is important that students are open to the opportunity of what they can do, attending a session and going away having learnt something. It is also inspiring to work with young people; they look at things with fresh eyes and bring new ideas.” 

The British Fashion Council introduces an Exceptional Talent Scholarship

After running MA Scholarships since 1998, the BFC is expanding the support provided to promising students on BA Fashion design courses in the UK. Today the BFC announces an Exceptional Talent Scholarship which is an emergency fund for talent needing financial support. This scholarship will provide support for those identified as experiencing unexpected financial difficulty as identified by their tutors.

Past MA scholarship winners include Andres Azubel, Senior Designer, Givenchy (2005) who said, “The relief on the economic side meant I could focus on learning and on my career. I am grateful for the support I received from the BFC and pleased that I was able to create my career and build myself up as a designer. My experience on the MA was amazing, I grew up, and I learnt a lot. It made me an integral designer; it made me know who I am and what I can do as a designer.” 

The BFC Education Foundation aims to attract talented young people into the industry and the success of the programme is evident by the final year BA students selected in 2015, who all graduated with First Class degrees. This has only been made possible by the immense generosity of the BFC Education Foundation donors: Charlotte Olympia, Coach, Eiesha Bharti Pasricha, Marks & Spencer, Mulberry and Dame Natalie Massenet. The project has also been partly supported by HM Government with Employer Ownership funding through Creative Skillset.

Competition Winners Awarded 

The BFC works with a network of leading fashion departments in universities throughout the UK, known as the Colleges Council. To continue to create an interface between education and industry, the BFC is pioneering a programme of industry-led events, seminars and competitions for the 2016/2017 academic year. 

At the annual Graduate Preview Day this year - an opportunity for fashion industry professionals to view the talent emerging from the UK’s top fashion colleges - winners of the Burberry Fashion Design competition, Jigsaw & Pongees Evening-wear competition, Topshop & Topman Graduate Talent competition and The Anne Tyrrell MBE Outstanding Portfolio competition were announced.

Burberry Design:
Winner: Rhys McKenna, Edinburgh College of Art
Runners-up: Jonathan Preston Moore, Edinburgh College of Art & Fiona Cartmel, Edinburgh College of Art

Jigsaw & Pongees Design Competition:
Eppyar Hunt, Manchester Metropolitan University

Topshop & Topman Graduate Talent:
TOPMAN Winner: Jonathan Preston Moore, Edinburgh College of Art

TOPSHOP Winner: Hollie France, Northumbria University

Anne Tyrrell MBE Outstanding Portfolio:
Royal College of Art

Andrew Groves, Course Director for Fashion Design, The University of Westminster said, “It is vital that fashion education in the UK engages and interacts with the fashion industry to ensure that we are understanding and addressing its future needs. Graduate Preview Day is a fantastic opportunity for us to meet with the fashion industry, show them the work of our latest graduates, and develop relationships that benefit both the fashion industry and education. It has allowed us to place many of our graduates in fantastic first jobs, but also started conversations with industry that has informed our decisions about the development of future courses at Westminster, such as our new MA Menswear course."

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For further information on the BFC Education Foundation and BFC Colleges Council, please contact:
Lucy Mountain
+44 (0) 20 7759 1943

For press enquiries, please contact:
Will Iron
+44 (0) 20 7759 1968
With special thanks to the University of Westminster