On the 15th March, based at Newcastle City Library, 6 North East schools along with 90 young people came to one of TICE’s biggest workshops this year…Exploring Careers in the Fashion Industry. The TICE fashion team had organised a fantastic day’s insight into stepping onto the fashion ladder, including a fabulous panel of industry experts to talk through their inspiration, backgrounds, opportunities and career progression in the sector.

In preparation for the special industry line up, students from Boldon School, Jarrow School, Burnside Business & Enterprise College, St Joseph’s Catholic Academy, Longbenton High School and John Spence Community High School were given a task to get the day underway. TICE fashion mentor, Katherine Wildman posed the question to all students, “What is it you would like to know about entering the fashion industry?” This was the prime opportunity for young people to get questions ready and queries answered. The industry experts were on their way…

For the students to really capture an overview of the opportunities available to them in the fashion industry here in the North East, we decided on a guest panel that could showcase and discuss a variety of different job roles within the sector. Our special guests were:

From retail management roles, through to innovative and responsible fashion processes, our panel were more than well equipped to answer our industry starter questions. TICE founder, Jennifer Barrett led the discussion and began with steering questions towards how they became so successful in fashion and what inspired them to work in this industry.

  • What qualifications did they need to start a career in their companies? 
  • What is an average day at work look like?
  • What opportunities are available in their companies for young people?
  • Is the North East a good place to set up and fashion business?
  • What is the interview process for getting a job in your company like?

The questions flowed and the guest panel spoke very openly and honestly about their career development. All speakers were in agreement; hard work, good communication and ambition were key characteristics to make it in this sector… A very special thank you to all our industry guest speakers.

Filled with new found industry knowledge, our Year 9 and Year 10 students were next to go into Newcastle City Centre and visit some high street retail stores. Featuring on the visits were Topshop & Topman, New Look, Urban Outfitters, French Connection and Monsoon. In groups, the students had various experiences from compiling shop reports to behind the scene tours. In Topshop and Topman, we met back up with Dawn and Alan who they invited us to see behind the scenes and show us what working in store is like for a variety of employees.

From working in visual merchandising roles, to the creatives roles, from the stock room to seeing the shop floor, the students were given a unique insight into how the store operates. Dawn and Alan showcased career progression, discussed the staff development programmes attracting talented people, developing their skills plus helping them understand their own individual style is something Topshop and Topman are extremely good at. Ultimately allowing everyone – no matter what role they want to do – to take control of their career and map out their future.

Once tours were complete, we returned to the library with our final feature of the day. Introducing the lovely Hannah Layford, a North East travel, lifestyle and fashion blogger from Raspberry Kitsch ready to give our students a completely different overview of a fashion based job role.

Hannah’s insight into developing her career and her aspirations for building her business were truly inspiring for all to hear. As an English Literature graduate currently working as a freelance brand consultant. Having worked in the creative industry for the past 5 years, she recently became self-employed, working closely with local brands and continuing to write on a freelance basis.

Back in 2009, Hannah started blogging without a clear direction and over the years Raspberry Kitsch has naturally evolved. It’s now her focus to grow and expand her audience with compelling content and beautiful imagery – currently she is managing just that – Well done Hannah and thank you for sharing your experiences.

What a day! Industry experts, a guest speaking panel, shop reports and behind the scenes tours, fashion bloggers, retail opportunities to ethical fashion. Could we have got much more in? #fashion #success

Thank you to everyone who made this such a brilliant day!