Fashion Retail Traineeship Summer 2015


For two weeks we are supporting Kaplan to deliver a unique traineeship in Fashion Retail. This traineeship is specifically designed for young people interested in gaining further experience to develop their fashion retail knowledge. In addition to specialist delivery, the learners on board will gain work experience with a leading fashion brand and employability skills that will support them in making vital next step decisions.  *For further information on this traineeship please take a further look here.

Student on a tour of the Visual Merchandising Department of M&S
Learners on a tour of the Visual Merchandising Department of M&S
Week one: Fashion Retail Traineeship

For the duration of our traineeship we are fantastically situated on Newcastle’s Northumberland Street at Kaplan offices. We could not be better placed with a huge array of high street and designer retailers literally on our doorstep. Our target for the two week specialist delivery is to make sure our learners have a vast and broad understanding of what working in retail is like but also gain an understanding of where this all fits within the fashion industry as a whole.

Day one: Introduction, overview and customisation.

After an introduction to the fashion team and an overview of the traineeship we got straight down to business. Learners were introduced to the range and scope of the fashion industry today. Potential careers paths with specific focus on the retail sector.

Day one
Learners were given a budget to go and find clothes to customise in keeping with latest trends.

To help us all get to know each other a little better and to showcase an up and coming feature in retail stores (such as Topshop and Urban Outfitters) we introduced up-cycled clothing and one off pieces present in ranges throughout the high street.

Our learners were put into teams and asked to analyse new trends and key looks given to high street retailers. They were then given a small budget to go off and source second hand clothing to then style and customise a new outfit.

Day two: Market Levels and Customer Profiling.

Today, learners were introduced to market levels within fashion retail, market levels are very much defined by product quality and fabrication, pricing, store environment and customer service. Everyone was tasked with investigating specifically product quality and fabrication and examining one key item across the various market levels from designer to lower end/budget.

Investigating Market Levels and Product Quality
Investigating Market Levels and Product Quality

Task two was then to distinguish between ranges of customer profiling with learners given various brands to research and come up with their idea of a target market.

Day three: Shop Reports – Designer Retail (plus the product life-cycle)

Day three was all about the designer end of the retail market, we visited two retail stores with insight given from staff about what it’s like to work in this area of fashion.

Students at Vivienne Westwood hearing about working in designer retail.
Learners at Vivienne Westwood hearing about working in designer retail.

In the afternoon, we introduced further fashion theory in terms of the product life-cycle. Learners were tasked with identifying classic’s and fad’s and had developed a full understanding of trend analysis.

Day four: Shop Reports – High Street Retail (plus e-commerce)

To compliment day three, learners were then invited to look at another side of retail with the lovely team at Marks & Spencer. We had talks from a store coach, operations manager, visual merchandising team, hospitality, children’s wear and the finance and store manager all organised by the recruitment manager David, who also gave further insight into starting a career in M&S.

An introduction to the team at M&S
An introduction to the team at M&S

After lunch, a M&S one of course, we delved into e-commerce, this kicked off by being shown the M&S in-store online tools whereby learners were tasked with a challenge of ‘Online Vs. Highstreet‘ and asked to compare the two retail experiences for various brands.

Day five: Skills Development (Branding, IT & CAD)

Final day of week one, today was all about developing awareness in store etiquette in terms of customer service, shop floor experience, health & safety and more. Learners were shown examples of brand manuals and challenged to create, design and develop their own introduction to working in retail for newcomers for a brand of their choice. Using Adobe Photoshop, our learners devised their own booklets developing their skills not only in branding but IT and CAD (computer aided design).

Skills Development
Learners using Adobe Photoshop to create store manuals.
Week One Retail Traineeship Photo Gallery:
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Week two: Fashion Retail Traineeship

Week two of the Fashion Retail Traineeship has concentrated on learners applying newly developed skills and knowledge to an extremely exciting project brief. Here’s how week two panned out:

Day six: Skills Development (Visual Merchandising, Mystery Shoppers & Customer Service) 

Today we invited in a special guest to help our learners understand more about the retail environment and good customer service. Holly, who has worked in retail at a designer level for over 10 years came over to discuss her career but also a very good lesson in understanding your customer and giving a fantastic level of service to all.  Before our learners were sent off to become mystery shoppers, analysing retail environments and customer service we couldn’t let them leave without testing their folding skills!

Skills working towards great levels of customer service... first task, folding!
Skills working towards great levels of customer service… first task, folding!

Day seven: Introducing the Project Brief!

Today was an extremely exciting day for us all! Day seven introduced the project we had been training our young learners towards. Here all the skills they have developed come together including trends, consumer profiles, market levels, styling, visual merchandising, branding, sales, presentation and much, much more! Our learners were given this brief: Fashion Retail; Selling, Customer Awareness & Styling.  Plus! an invitation to who their client was… where were they going?

Familiarising themselves with the brands ahead of the photoshoot.
Familiarising themselves with the brands ahead of the photoshoot.

The learners were placed into teams and the battle of the brands commenced! Would Team Whistles or Team Reiss win? Today was all about managing their own project, researching their brand, client and discovering what it takes to organise their own time and resources.

Day eight: The Photoshoot!

What a fantastic opportunity today was, not only did the students get organised for their shoots, they styled, they modelled and most importantly were extremely professional throughout the whole morning pulling together very successful shots to realise their project challenge.

Putting together outfits in Team Reiss or Team Whistles.
Putting together outfits in Team Reiss or Team Whistles.

Each learner had three outfit opportunities to pull together the perfect combination for their client. A massive thank you to Whistles and Reiss and the staff involved for enabling this project to go ahead!

Day nine: Project Completion…

Day nine was all about pulling the project research, the shoot and creative writing together. As the project brief states, the learners needed to convince their client that one of their options was the best outfit to go for. Sales tactics and beautiful descriptions were key, our learners needed to show they knew their products perfectly and were able to annotate their images with captions and present back their work with brand professionalism.

Editing images using Adobe Photoshop
Editing images using Adobe Photoshop

Day ten: Portfolio Building

Fashion Retail Traineeship Team 2015
Fashion Retail Traineeship Team 2015

Our final day of what has been an amazing two weeks! Not only have we had a fantastic time, our first fashion retail cohort have been simply brilliant. Today was all about pulling together all the work the learners had produced from the two weeks to present in a professional format for them to use in interviews, portfolios, blogs, CV’s and more. Congratulations Everyone!

Here’s a few examples of the work produced:

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“I have had an amazing time, meeting new people, learning the industry terminology I need and getting to know everything I could about the fashion industry in such a short space of time. Most of all I have enjoyed the project, and getting to go into stores to style three outfits. It was a challenge to style from one brand and work to some very strict deadlines, as well as getting to grips with photoshop. This has given me the confidence to look further into the fashion industry and whether a job in the industry would be something I want to do. Overall the experience has been great, and has definitely made me think a lot about my future.”

Right now… our young learners now embark on an employability skills week with Kaplan before heading off to complete their work experience placements with a leading fashion brand. Good Luck!!

Week Two Photo Gallery:
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If you are interested in a fashion retail traineeship and are 16-19yrs and are based in the North East of England please contact us on