“Creativity is contagious, pass it on!” Albert Einstein
Would you like to share your passion for fashion, transfer your knowledge and experience, and spread your creativity? Have you thought about becoming a teacher working in fashion and design? The UK textile industry has been growing over the last five years and is expected to keep growing. It’s a sector that can attract a whole host of people with different qualifications. You can get started in the industry after either studying or getting a few years of experience. Since recruitment for some jobs is very competitive and it can be tough to get your first teaching job, here's our guide for teachers wanting to teach students who want to learn to sew.
What Qualifications Do You Need to Get Sewing Teacher Jobs
Students can take a BTEC in Fashion. In this case, a teacher will be in charge of a student’s fashion training. They’ll teach students about corrections, step-by-step model building, customising wardrobes, making buttonholes, and even using fabric offcuts to create new original pieces!
The Role of the Teacher
In vocational studies, the students study both general subjects as well as subjects specific to fashion. The teacher technically has to have an understanding of more than just one subject but there’s one that they have to be really good at. In this case, we’re talking about sewing. It’s really important that you transfer your knowledge to enthusiastic students looking to learn more about making clothing and fashion accessories.
“Due to my professional experience, I really wanted to transfer my knowledge (...) It’s rewarding being able to have helped students (...) They see me as someone who’s worked in the vocation they want to break into (...).” Karima, a vocational teacher in Marseille.
You need to be aware of monitoring the student throughout their course. This means that you need to regularly evaluate their work, make sure they're taught everything they need to know and help them prepare for their future. There are three main types of objectives for a teacher providing vocational training:
- Learning Objectives: The hours spent with the students in the workshop teaching them how to use a sewing machine and an iron, how to cut fabric patterns and how to pin a hem.
- Teaching Objectives: Preparing classes, monitoring students, evaluating them, helping them, working with the teaching team, maintaining a good relationship with the students’ parents.
- Complementary Teaching Objectives: Putting together personal projects for each student in order to help them become a part of the school or the programme.
If you’re a teacher at a vocational school or college, you’ll have a programme to follow. Even if it’s vocational, you’ll still have a curriculum to follow in order to teach students about fashion design and how to sew. The students will have a good mix of practical and theoretical lessons and the teacher’s goal is to help the student to learn and develop their skills. You can also help students by becoming a member of an association.
How Can You Teach in a College?
If you’ve already worked in the fashion industry, becoming a fashion or sewing teacher can be quite simple. However, in order to help your students, you should keep one foot in the fashion industry and stay in touch with your contacts and stay abreast of all the developments in the industry. It’s recommended that you get a teaching qualification, too. This will help you learn what you need to know about teaching. Most courses run alongside the typical academic calendar (starting in September or October) and are mostly postgraduate qualifications. The more experience you have in the industry, the better. Of course, you’ll still be expected to prove yourself when applying to courses. If you're looking for experience in the classroom, consider working as a teaching assistant and helping out in beginner sewing classes. Once you’ve started studying to become a teacher, there are plenty of options and specialisations you can opt for. If you’re worried about money, you can always opt for a part-time course so that you can keep working while you study. Throughout the year you can alternate between going to work and studying for your future career in teaching. To get started as a teacher, you’re going to need the right qualifications.
How Can You Teach Sewing or Fashion Design?
Once you’ve got your degree in fashion design, you might want to pass on your knowledge. If this is the case, then you’ve still got a few more things to do before you can start teaching. If you don’t feel like teaching private sewing tutorials (which require no qualifications, just the right skills and a good reputation), you can always look at teaching in schools or universities. If you want to teach in secondary schools or colleges, there’s one thing you can do...
Get The PGCE
For those looking to teach in secondary schools or colleges, the PGCE is the most common teaching qualifications in the UK. The Postgraduate Certificate in Education is pretty much essential when it comes to teaching. The PGCE will allow you to work in general further education colleges, sixth form colleges, specialist designated colleges, and, most importantly, art, design and performing art colleges. During the course, you'll learn how to manage students, plan classes, the administrative tasks you'll be expected to do, and a variety of teaching approaches. Once you've finished your course, you'll be a qualified educator and have qualified teacher status (QTS), which you'll need to be a school teacher in the UK. There are a few different ways you can do it but if you do it in England, you’ll end up having to pay £9,000 for it.
Work in a Fashion School or University
There are a number of Higher Education establishments where you can teach fashion design. Here are a few examples:
- Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London
- London College of Fashion, University of the Arts London
- Kingston University
- University of Westminster
- Loughborough University
- University of Dundee
- Manchester Metropolitan University
- Falmouth University
As these are universities, they generally offer degrees in fashion design. The teachers are always expected to have at least a degree in the subject and often a post-graduate degree or even doctorate. Of course, experience also helps a lot. The lecturers here are educational professionals in every sense of the word. The salaries at these establishments are higher than what you’d get at a college or school and, as a result, there’s also far more competition when it comes to getting these jobs in education. However, you’ll also have a great number of opportunities to grow your network. Of course, you’ll still need to put in a lot of work if you want to become a famous fashion designer! So make sure you have a killer CV and cover letter, do your research on the schools so that you can impress if you manage to get an interview. Don’t leave anything to chance! If this isn’t for you, you could always offer sewing tutorials online! You could offer basic sewing classes via Skype or teach beginners about basic sewing techniques in private group tutorials.
Teaching fashion and design requires patience, care, and a passion for teaching. This could bring you a lot of joy if you love sharing what you know.
What Is Fashion Design?
Fashion design is conceiving and making garments and accessories in accordance with current trends.
What Is Prototyping?
This is when you make a sample or mock-up of the intended garment.
Searching for Sewing Jobs
So whether you work in a classroom, teach workshops, or are looking for teaching jobs as a private sewing tutor, don't forget to kickstart your job search by setting up a job alert on job sites. With a job alert, you'll get an email or a notification whenever new jobs come up or a certain employer is hiring someone with your skills. Make sure that you regularly update your resume or CV because some vacancies and teaching positions are incredibly competitive and you'll need to highlight every relevant certification and all your experience as a teacher and in sewing. Don't forget to attend industry job fairs because you might meet the recruiter of your dreams and get your foot in the door. They're more likely to think of you as the right candidate and hire you if they've already met you. While you're looking for jobs, consider teaching your own sewing class or sewing lessons as a private tutor or instructor. Don't forget that there are students who don't want to learn how to sew in a group and would prefer to be the only student in their class. Consider posting an ad for your classes on local bulletin boards and on sites like Superprof, where you can make your own profile, highlight the types of skills you teach (like how to thread a needle, embroidery, quilting, etc.), and consider offering your first hour of tutoring for free so the students can get to know you.