The UK garment manufacturing sector received a major boost this week, with the official launch of the country’s first ever Fashion Technology Academy (FTA).

Run by social enterprise Fashion Enter, the unique learning environment has the potential to train over 1000 people ever year, helping them work towards qualifications in pattern making, fabric inspection, laying and cutting, quality control, machine maintenance and stitching.

The venture, which is based in a 5,000 sq ft unit in North London, will address the skills shortage currently being faced by UK garment manufacturers struggling to cope with an upturn in fortunes with more buyers choosing ‘Made in Britain”.

It has been backed by high street retailer ASOS and has secured over £500,000 of investment from Haringey Council and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), not to mention significant personal funds from Director Jenny Holloway to get it up and running.

“We really believe that the Fashion Technology Academy is the single most important initiative we have ever undertaken, providing 1000 people with work-based skills that will lead to employment,” explained Jenny.

“With the growth in on-shoring of garment manufacturing there is no better time to launch the FTA. It’s a real collaboration between many partners and we have to thank Haringey Council and the DWP for their financial backing…it has made the vision a reality.”

The Fashion Technology Academy (FTA) is an extension of the successful Stitching Academy and offers qualifications across the entire garment life cycle.

It is the first apparel manufacturing training academy in the country to operate alongside a live factory environment, ensuring students gain exposure to real manufacturing whilst training for their Level 1 qualification.

Investment has seen it fully equipped with machines, pressing equipment, fusing boards, machne tools, catography, CADCAM, cutting benches and knives…everything you need to open a textile factory.

Councillor Joe Goldberg, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Social Inclusion and Sustainability, added his support

“I’m proud that here in Haringey we are at the cutting edge of a fashion manufacturing boom and we are equipping our residents with the skills they need to secure long-term employment.

“It’s exciting that projects like the FTA create jobs, apprenticeships and training in industries that capture the imagination of young talent.”

16 year-old George Filkins was one of the first people to enrol at the Fashion Technology Academy and is already making significant progress.

He left Park Langley School this summer with disappointing GCSEs and knew A-Levels were not going to work for him so, after attending a Fashion Enter open day, decided for a more work-based approach.

His organisational skills and natural ability in design technology and art led him to choose a Machine Maintenance apprenticeship.

“I am really enjoying my job as an apprentice sewing machine mechanic. My boss and mentor Kyri is fantastic and I am learning so much.

“Every Monday I go to the FTA and learn about the workplace, such as health and safety and working as part of a team. This will prepare me for when I’ve completed my apprenticeship and will hopefully give me a better chance of finding employment in the fashion sector.”

For further information, please visit or follow @ftalondon on twitter.