A Dundee mum has gained a job in the fashion industry despite only having learned to sew a button on a few months ago.
Chelsie Bruce landed the post of production assistant at Dundee fashion company, Isolated Heroes, founded by Samantha Paton, shortly after completing a new online course.
Chelsie helps to manufacture orders, from sequined t-shirt dresses to beautifully embellished face coverings, all thanks to the skills she learned during lockdown.
She was one of ten students participate in pilot course called Kindred Clothing, run by Dundee charity Front Lounge, which aims to give young parents an introduction into the fashion world.
The course was due to be taught in person but Covid-19 related restrictions saw it move online.
Chelsie said: “I’m absolutely delighted to have secured work with Isolated Heroes.
“I’m sitting next to two graduates but doing the same job – a real confidence boost.
“I hadn’t sewn on a button before I joined the Kindred Clothing programme. Now we’re almost at the point of gaining a qualification and I’ve secured work with a local fashion designer.
“I’m learning so much industry experience while still having the flexibility I need as a busy mum.”
One of the things which made landing her dream job possible was the fact that the course also offers childcare, while teaching takes place.
Students learn the key stages of the garment production process, practical fashion photography skills and techniques to present themselves, their stories and their clothes.
They also build up portfolios while completing assessments along the way.
Samantha Paton, owner and founder of Isolated Heroes, has been involved with the project from the outset and believes the course can help fill a skills gap across the industry.
She said: “We have been extremely busy since the start of lockdown. With shops closed for such a long time, more people were buying clothes online and keen to support independent businesses.
“As a result, our level of orders can no longer managed in our premises so we decided to recruit a ‘work from home’ team while we seek larger premises.
“We received a staggering 60 applications, mainly from fashion and textiles graduates but we chose Chelsie due to the skills she’s gained through Kindred Clothing, her love of the brand and her sheer determination.
“A degree isn’t everything – we also look for hands-on industry experience and a raw passion – Chelsie ticked all the boxes because of the course.
“We’re looking to create a positive working model and show other businesses how they can implement this into their structure – essentially taking people off the course, training them up and taking them on.”
An internship was also provided to Hannah Watson who also completed the pilot course over lockdown.