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Two Northampton College students have seen their work exhibited as part of an international display having been honoured by one of the leading bodies in cutting-edge fashion.

Millinery students Olivia Dugmore and Lucy Dodd saw their hats featured in an exhibition curated by three judges of the annual competition held by The Worshipful Company of Feltmakers – a specialist body set up to champion the art and design of headwear across the world.

'Unveiled - The Craft of Millinery' was supported by the Feltmakers Livery and took place at The ArtWorkers Guild as part of London Craft Week.

Olivia’s hat won second prize in the overall competition while Lucy was named the winner of the artwork and presentation category. Both girls are students at Northampton College’s Booth Lane Campus.

Millinery teacher Rachel Maughan said: “The standard of the Feltmakers Awards is incredible. It has been increasing year-on-year and the entries are from some of the very best fashion students across the country so for two Northampton College students to get this recognition is a huge achievement.

“Having their work featured in one of the industry’s most iconic displays is an unbelievable opportunity to make a name for themselves and create an impression with some of the leading lights in millinery.”

The students were given the opportunity to attend the annual Feltmaker’s Banquet in London where the awards for the winning designs were presented.

Their success follows in the footsteps of former Northampton College Melissa Mehrtens, who won the overall competition in 2015 – giving her the chance to work for a designer who supplies headwear to the Royal Family.

Melissa, who cites Alexander McQueen as her design hero, scooped the £1,200 first prize and enjoyed a work experience placement with Rachel Trevor Morgan, milliner to the Duchess of Cambridge.

She said: “The chance to design and make hats was one of the main reasons I came to Northampton College as I really wanted to learn new skills. Working with big names in the industry as a result of the Feltmakers competition was a brilliant opportunity.”

dav group2 003The second intake of students at Northampton College’s new-look Daventry Campus have been honoured for their hard work and dedication at an awards ceremony.

More than 150 people, including students, their families and a number of VIP guests, attended the ceremony at the multi-million pound campus in Badby Road West, Daventry On Thursday, June 20th 2018.

Best Overall Progress award went to mature student Dina Brinza, who has worked hard to juggle a young family and busy home life with her Level 2 Art and Design studies. Dina, whose youngest daughter was just 20 days old when she collected her award.

Another winner was Jamie-Lee Wareing, who scooped the Overcoming Challenges award for her sheer determination to succeed. Prior to her Level 3 course in IT, Jamie-Lee had completed two Level 2 courses – Performing Arts and Media – and before that Foundation Studies. She overcame the challenges of her disability to pass two challenging exams on her first attempt.

shoe5

Northampton College has helped launch a new nationally accredited apprenticeship standard to train the next generation of shoemakers, teaming up with some of the industry’s most iconic names to ensure specialist skills are passed on to the workforce of the future.


The British Footwear Association has partnered with companies including Loake, Church’s, Dr Martens, Tricker’s and Crocket & Jones to develop the new standard, with Northampton College developing a fully-functioning ‘shoe room’ to enable students to gain off-site machine and equipment experience throughout their apprenticeship.

The new standard will come into effect this autumn and is a vital development for the British footwear manufacturing industry. It has been designed by employers to be flexible and to work for everyone from small, specialist makers to large multi-national manufacturers.

Pat Brennan-Barrett, principal of Northampton College, said: "We are delighted to be at the forefront of this innovative new programme, aimed at training the workforce of the future in Northampton's most iconic industry.

“Northampton has been synonymous with footwear for hundreds of years and we look forward to helping the next generation learn the skills they will need to ensure the industry not only survives but thrives both locally and nationally for years to come."

The new apprenticeship offers high quality entry-level training and experience to those interested in joining a highly skilled, globally respected industry.

Helen Errington, HR Manager for Church’s, said: “Church’s has always trained apprentices to ensure a succession of skilled staff able to produce the highest quality footwear. We are very pleased to be involved with colleagues in building this new scheme which will make sure the training is even more focused on the technical and skilled aspects of production.”

There are around 30 larger factories and up to 100 smaller specialist manufacturers making shoes in the UK. Collectively they manufacture around six million pairs of shoes per year, with a value of £400 million. More than half of the footwear produced in the UK is exported. The manufacturing part of the footwear industry employs 4,000 people.

BFA Chief Executive John Saunders said: “International interest in British brands is always incredibly healthy, particularly so for the premium hand-made shoes, of the type made in Northamptonshire, alongside numerous smaller businesses nationwide.

“It is economically imperative, that the skills are protected and developed. Additionally there are firms wishing to expand production, so this collective effort on training will ensure that all manufacturing businesses are able to offer the kind of nationally approved and formal training we haven’t seen for some time in the UK.”

Northampton College will work closely with the BFA to develop a ‘technical academy’ for apprentices in the next few years.

Stephen Bent from Dr Martens said: “This scheme provides a hands-on, earn while you learn option. We wanted to create a scheme which, no matter which firm you had your apprenticeship with, the skills, knowledge and understanding you gain will be of relevance to any employer so a qualified apprentice will be a very employable person.”

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