Fashion academy launched to tackle issues in scandal-ridden local garment industry
A new fashion academy has been launched in Leicester as part of a bid to address long-standing issues in the local clothing industry.
The manufacture of clothing and textiles is an integral part of Leicester’s heritage, but in recent years it has been beset by scandal due to low wages and poor working conditions.
Leicester City Council has now partnered with training provider Fashion-Enter Ltd to open the Fashion Technology Academy, which aims to ‘push’ the negatives in the industry.
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A total of £ 300,000 has been invested in the center with £ 100,000 of funding from the Local Business Tariff Pool, administered by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP).
The academy, which officially launched on November 30, will offer apprenticeships and training for people wishing to work in the textile industry and those who are already employed in the sector.
Trainees have already started taking some of the first courses offered by the Stonebridge Street based center in Spinney Hills, Leicester.
The center shares a building with a local clothing company, Ethically Sourced Products Ltd.
The city’s deputy mayor, Adam Clarke, said the launch was the result of “years of hard work” from ideas formulated at a major meeting on the city’s textile industry in 2017.
He said: “This project was developed to tackle the issues that we know in the garment industry at the local level and that we are determined to solve – although we ourselves have no executive powers. . “
Leicester’s clothing and textiles sector came under fire in 2020 after a number of allegations of worker exploitation against manufacturing companies in the city.
Activists called for a change on the problems of poor working conditions, the treatment of workers and underpaid staff, described as an “open secret” known for years.
Cllr Clarke added: “Leicester has the second largest concentration of textile and fashion companies in the UK, so it’s an extremely important industry to our local economy, and it’s an industry we are determined to support.
“Creating a highly skilled and skilled workforce is an important and crucial step in creating workplaces where people are valued, leading to higher standards of workplace compliance. “
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The new center will work with local businesses, as well as retailers, and alongside representatives from companies such as ASOS.
Simon Platts, Director of Procurement at ASOS, said: “We have been working with Fashion-Enter in London since 2010 and funded their Stitching Academy in 2015, helping to develop and maintain essential textile manufacturing skills. .
“Now the launch of Fashion Technology Academy Leicester will undoubtedly bring similar benefits to Leicester, helping to make the city the center of fashion excellence that we know it has the potential to be. “
Other partners supporting the project include suppliers Triumph Needle and Alvanon, as well as fashion retailer I Saw It First, which has invested £ 150,000 in training to be delivered by the new academy.
Fashion-Enter established an academy in North London in 2015 and Leicester will be the second city where it has launched such an operation.
The non-profit social enterprise based in London and Newtown, Wales is recognized as a center of excellence for skills development in the fashion and textile industries.
Jenny Holloway, Director of Fashion-Enter, added: “The opportunity for an ethical ‘quick response’ fashion from Leicester is enormous for retailers and e-merchants today. “
To give the local sector a further boost, Leicester City Council will receive £ 500,000 from the government’s Community Renewal Fund.
The money will finance a project to support local manufacturers and workers, in partnership with Fashion-Enter and De Montfort University.
Fast-fashion giant Boohoo, which was at the center of the scandal in 2020, has also pledged its own commitment to the city, launching the Leicester Garment and Textile Workers Trust earlier this year.