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New Fashion Academy At The FTM Mends Gap In Sector Support

12 December 2007

On launching the Academy, Martin Tolhurst, Principal of Newham College, which now owns and manages the FTM said: ‘The fashion business can be a tough environment in which to flourish and yet the creative industries are vital to the UK economy. However, until now there has been no one place where education, learning and industry support has come together.

'Using the track record we have at Newham in developing fashion courses and the expertise and knowledge we have brought together with industry through projects such as Cutting IT, the Centre for Vocational Excellence for the sector, Savile Row and Holts jewellery school, we really want to take the support for the sector to the next level through this new Academy.’   Rt Hon Stephen Timms MP, Minister for Competitiveness said.

The fashion, textiles and jewellery industry is a highly competitive, fast-paced environment. Staying up to date with the latest developments in technology, business practice and creative thinking can make all the difference between a company surviving and thriving. I am delighted to see the creation of this new Academy to help those who either want to get into the sector or help their companies stay competitive’.

The Academy will be open to all who want to broaden their skills in the fashion industries, from those looking for full-time courses, short professional courses or something more tailored for businesses. Details of activities include:         

Full-time courses -
providing educational and developmental opportunities through long-term study set in the context of the creative industries courses are available from beginners to advanced levels.

Short professional courses
– providing a great opportunity to kick-start a career or help take it to another level. Packed with industry-specific skills, these short courses are carefully designed to reflect the needs of the fast-paced fashion, textile and jewellery industries.

Industry training –
this will focus on a variety of skills from practical garment production, to getting to grips with using computer software, or learning more about business and commercial practice. Crucially these will be scheduled around the times most appropriate for those operating their own businesses.   

As well as education and training, the Academy will work in partnership with industry bodies such as Skillfast-UK and the Creative and Cultural Industries Sector Skills Councils as well as individual companies to design and deliver high quality apprenticeship programmes - for example, the FTM’s highly successful Bespoke Tailoring Apprenticeship which is supported by Savile Row and the jewellery sector Apprenticeships developed by the Creative and Cultural Industries Sector Skills Council. 

It will also offer businesses training support via Train to Gain as well as a free work placement brokerage service, where placements will be arranged individually to suit business needs and requirements.   

Because of the links built up with successful practitioners from the fashion, textiles and jewellery sectors the Academy will also be developing a mentoring programme that gives people the chance to get practical advice specific to their business, and benefit first-hand from the experience of a specialist industry insider.  

All of this work will be underpinned by a programme of less formal workshops, seminars and masterclassesfor those in the industry from new designers to established practitioners - all are great opportunities for businesses to meet other businesses in the same or allied sectors.  Some recent workshops have focussed on copyrighting ideas, manufacturing offshore, and promoting your own business.  

As well as the new Academy, the FTM is also developing a programme of changing exhibitions exploring elements of contemporary fashion, style and couture. The FTM’s first exhibition is being staged in collaboration with the Getty Images Gallery. Peacocks and Pinstripes, focusing on the often-overlooked area of men’s fashion, will run from February to May 2008.        

Notes to editors


Newham College of Further Education is one of the largest further education colleges in Europe, with a strong track record in running courses and providing business support in the fashion and jewellery sectors. Newham has been involved at the FTM previously, supporting the development of its learning centre. The creation of the Academy builds on this earlier work.    

To find out more about the Academy at the FTM visit www.ftmlondon.org  

For Information on Cutting IT and CoVE please contact cutting.it@newham.ac.uk and Alison.lewy@newham.ac.uk respectively.      

For further details please contact Gilly Lloyd

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