Gower College Swansea, the Only Pan Wales Provider of the Fashion and Textiles Apprenticeship #NAW2023
UKFT Education Partner Gower College Swansea is the only pan Wales provider of the Fashion and Textiles Apprenticeship. It offers bespoke training models to meet employers’ needs, which have been a success both for employers and apprentices. The programme fulfils training gaps while addressing skills shortages in the sector. Since the pandemic, there has been an increased demand for products made in the UK, which explains the need for a new generation of skilled professionals – notably sewing machinists.
Elinor Franklin, Lecturer at Gower College Swansea, said:
“Establishing local and national demand has ensured that the provision remains on the national apprenticeship framework. And by offering flexible models of delivery, it has provided opportunities for employers to grow their workforce and secure the long-term sustainability of manufacturing in Wales.”
Gower College Swansea has developed two employer boards to cater for different areas of the fashion and textile sector, in partnership with UKFT. It has also played a crucial role in reviewing the framework of the apprenticeship alongside employers in Wales. Currently, the delivery model of the Fashion and Textiles Apprenticeship includes remote training to offer more flexibility to employers and apprentices.
Beth Clewes, a Fashion and Textiles apprentice at Gower College Swansea, had a positive experience with the remote part of the training delivered by the college over Zoom:
“It’s perfect because I can access it and still be in the workplace and then I transition into the workplace in the afternoon. I’ve got four and a half days working and that little bit of input from the college which works really well hand-in-hand. So I get theory from the college and then hands-on work experience in the workplace to develop that knowledge and build on that.”
Gower College Swansea also offers a second delivery model inspired by boot camps. It is based at the college and includes a period of intensive training at the start of the apprenticeship to ensure that apprentices are ‘work ready’ when they join the employer. This second model was developed based on employer feedback and to support the demand for skilled labour in a neighbouring region.
Mark Jones, Principal of Gower College Swansea, said:
“Gower College Swansea’s role is to support those businesses to develop these people’s skills, which are really important for those industries to succeed. Most of that is done through an apprenticeship programme which gives individuals the opportunity to earn at the same time as they are learning. I can only recommend it very strongly indeed as giving people the opportunity to move into that fast-moving furniture and fashion sector.”
In 2023, employers will be able to access the two types of delivery models offered by Gower College Swansea. Beyond supporting their recruitment needs, it will also help apprentices build their skills and knowledge with more flexibility. They will be able to access both the state-of-the-art facilities at the Fashion and Textiles Centre, Llwyn y Bryn Campus, Gower College Swansea and remote learning.
Read More: Last year, Gower College Swansea attended the career event Skills Cymru (Cardiff) in partnership with UKFT. The college provided hands-on activities on industrial sewing machines, which attracted many young participants. The aim was to support employers in the sector and their recruitment needs in the region.