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Page last updated at 11:17 GMT, Monday, 3 August 2009 12:17 UK
Fashion skills to the rescue
Stitch in time
Stephen Timms MP attended the launch of the scheme

A new scheme in Haringey is utilising the fashion industry to help residents develop their skills and to combat unemployment.

Trainees will learn the ropes of the fashion world through formal training and work placements.

'Stitch in time' has been devised by Enter Fashion, an industry training organisation, and has the support of Haringey Council.

The launch of the scheme was attended by East Ham MP, Stephen Timms.

Local jobs for local people

According to a survey carried out by Fashion Enter, 23 companies in the Florentia Clothing Village, a factory outlet centre near Finsbury Park, are looking to employ up to 47 local people if they had the necessary skills.

This scheme aims to help fill some of those jobs by giving fashion training to local people.

"Fashion Enter has devised this programme to help train the unemployed people of today in such a way that builds on their strengths, so if someone wants to do design we can help with that and if someone wants to do machining we can help too," says Kosa Ralevic, who has 40 years experience in the industry.

Currently, Kosa is the Production Manager at The Workshop, Enter Fashion's clothing factory where the training will take place.

The Trainees

One of the trainees taking part in the scheme, Cherise Thornicroft said:

Fashion Enter
This is definitely a must for anyone wanting hands on experience into the production and designing side of the fashion industry
Trainee Aku Nkem

"The Workshop is fantastic because it offers all people an insight into designing and the production side of clothes. They teach you all the steps you need to know on how to construct a garment. Everyone is really friendly and helpful and willing to answer any questions we may have."

Another trainee Aku Nkem said:

"Meeting designers such as Susannah Stone from Dress me Joyce who have been so supportive and encouraging, has given an extra boost.

This is definitely a must for anyone wanting hands on experience into the production and designing side of the fashion industry."

Industry support

Among the companies who are supporting the scheme are online retailer asos.com and British labal Jaeger.

Asos.com has supported the work at The Workshop since it opened in October 2008, and according to Pippa Lazaro, their Technical Director, the company is now seeking to bring production back to the UK after manufacturing was taken overseas 12 years ago.

Stephen Timms MP with director of Fashion Enter Jenny Holloway
Stephen Timms with Enter Fashion director Jenny Holloway

Stephen Timms MP was impressed by what he saw at the launch and welcomed signs of 'a real revival in UK textile manufacturing.'

The MP said: "The unique 'Stitch in Time' programme, launched by Fashion Enter on the day of my visit and delivered at their factory, The Workshop, aims to tackle firms' skill shortages.

It is for unemployed residents of Haringey and can be tailored to suit every single participant."

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