From education to employment

“Designers to the stars” inspire BMet students via business -focused creative masterclasses

Business acumen and creativity have been in full focus for BMet students joining “garment designing” masterclasses with local community interest company, Free 2 Dream In The Community (F2D-ITC).

The impactful interactive sessions have enabled circa 50 students at Matthew Boulton College to develop a range of career-enhancing skills, which will be invaluable for a variety of future pathways.

F2D-ITC was established by a trio of friends – Gary Thompson, Daniel Gardiner and Marcus Issacs – to support young people to foster a deeper understanding of business, creativity and entrepreneurship. Their aim is for young people to develop key skills for the future, that will assist them to succeed and navigate life with a growth mindset.

Among other key achievements, the childhood Birmingham friends have created streetwear brand, F2D Clothing – worn by some of the world’s biggest music stars and celebrities including Ed Sheeran, Dizzee Rascal, Ashely Banjo, Miley Cyrus, Soulja Boy and Ludacris.

Daniel Gardiner, a director at F2D – ITC said:

“Our aim is to inspire the next generation to believe in themselves and to become future leaders.

“We feel that we were able to achieve this in our sessions and were impressed with students’ levels of creativity, maturity and desire to learn.

“The learners were a credit to themselves and in general we were very pleased with the garments that they produced, which were all their own creations.”

Beginning in February, the programme, consisting of six weekly workshop sessions, gave students across different curriculum areas, the opportunity to design an item of clothing of their liking and have the item manufactured.

Whilst taking part in the project, students gained a unique insight into the process of manufacturing, aspects of fashion, business planning and entrepreneurship elements behind it.

The programme concluded with students receiving a certificate and showcasing their finished designs.

Here is what some of the participating learners had to say about their experience in the project:

Fazal: “My team and I worked very well together and created a design we’re proud of. At the start we all had different ideas, but then after negotiating, we collectively agreed on our brand choice for a sweatshirt.

“I developed a range of skills during this project, and I now have a greater interest in fashion!”

Noor: “It was a good project to be part of and I haven’t been involved in anything like this before. I developed key team working, communication and creative skills, which I can carry forward to any future career.

“Peace and prosperity were the words on our hoodie, and we think that they were fitting for the success of this project!”

Zahra: “I think this project was amazing and very exciting. I learned so much and now have a desire to own my own business, as F2D were so inspiring.

“We created a design that worked for us, and it was good that we were able to put our ideas forward, using our powers of persuasion and then reach a compromise.”

Burham: “It was great to be part of these sessions, as F2D were very cool, interesting, and motivating – making me believe that I can achieve anything with hard work and determination.

“Learning about brands and designing alongside being educated about key principals of business in more detail, was very useful and I can carry this all forward in my future.”

Djanae: “The project was a fantastic opportunity for students to express their talents and creativities. We are also able to understand processes of business, design, and marketing in more detail.

“I was particularly interested in brand endorsement and am impressed with the high-profile celebrities that F2D have worked with, who have helped promote their work!”

The F2D-ITC Business Creative Session was put on as part of the college’s Tutorial Elements Programme – designed to offer BMet students access to a truly inclusive, tutorial curriculum, which is reflective of the range of diverse identities that exist within our educational institution community.  Learning activities during term two are centred on students’ ‘Growth’ and require students to explore key ‘elements’, including Business & Enterprise and Inspirational Voices.

Natalie Simmonds-Alleyne, Tutorials Development Manager, who leads the design and implementation of the Tutorial Elements Programme, across campuses said:

“It is so important to for us to support our students to develop their knowledge and understanding of business and entrepreneurship, including how to set up and successfully run their own businesses.

“By inviting inspirational and relatable speakers like Daniel, Gary and Marcus from Birmingham based organisations like F2D-ITC into our college, we can inspire and encourage students to develop skills for the future. Students that have taken part in this programme have been positively impacted and over the last few weeks, we have seen improvements in student attendance and punctuality.”

The F2D-ITC friends plan to hold workshops across schools in the West Midlands to pass on their tips and have also partnered with Birmingham Central Library with the book called Entrepreneurship: A Young Persons Guide.

BMet is committed to raising awareness of current and innovative opportunities, which lead to the positive development and aspirations of their students. Partnerships with like-minded organisations like Free 2 Dream In The Community (F2D-ITC), are a huge part of this fundamental college objective.

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