MY EXPERIENCE AT THE FASHION RETAIL ACADEMY

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If you're interesting in finding out what studying at the Fashion Retail Academy was like for me, please keep reading. I've had quite a few messages about it, and I remember messaging students there about it when I was applying so hopefully this will be helpful for you! Here's me last year when I enrolled:


My course
The course I studied was the Level 4 BTEC in Fashion Retail (Marketing and Business). I feel like lots of people shudder when they see the word BTEC - and yes I can see why, A-levels/degrees are much more difficult I'm sure, but BTECs are basically just a different kind of course all together so it's hard to compare. Anyway I'm kind of a BTEC expert now I've done two full time courses lol, the one I did before was L3, so kind of A-level type thing. The Level 4 I studied at FRA is kind of a foundation degree type level, not a full degree but more than your A-levels. 

The Level 4 courses are usually a year long, but the college have started running fast track courses for just 22 weeks. It's the same qualification, you do the same work, you basically just do it quicker. This is what I did, so I actually finished my course back in February. 
There's pro's and cons to this of course - it was quite stressful at times since there is so many assignments, but if you're hard working I'd suggest you do a fast track. Both fast track and year long courses spend 2 days a week at the college, which was good for me as it meant I could still live up in York most of the time. Most people in my class travelled in everyday. 

Applying for the course 
So anyway, I applied and I wasn't sure if I'd get in because obviously I'd never studied business or marketing before. Really different in fact as I did musical theatre! I put in lots of effort into my personal essay for my application, and was then asked to complete a small project as part of the application process which I made a video for. I sent this all off to the college and was really excited to get a place. 

Despite having to catch up a bit with some of the business terminology, I felt like I was able to keep up with the course

Sidenote- because I started the course before I was 19, it was free = no fees, no debt!

Me on my last day:( 

How you learn
The course itself, like most BTECs, was broken into units which each had a final project or hand in, like an essay or presentation. Then the final project at the end is where you use everything you've learnt, and this is what your grade is based on. It's called an individual negotiated project because you can basically choose what you do your project on, kind of like you do at uni I think. I chose to do a whole new start up business plan for an accessories brand.

You also get a 4 week work placement as part of your course, they have connections with loads and loads of brands so you could get anywhere - mine was at Kurt Geiger and I really enjoyed it. Such a great thing to add to your CV as well, since theres nothing better than experience.

What it covers
The topics covered on the course I did was really varied, we did units in marketing, buying, visual merchandising, personal development, management and all sorts. I basically think if you want to work in fashion retail, and you're not quite sure what role you want to be in, you should take a course that covers all of them so you can choose what you like.

The college itself is really nice. Its really near Oxford Street, fashion retail mecca, the building is all new and nice, loads of great computers, best fashion library ever, I literally couldn't fault it. There is access to so much, for example WGSN, Indesign and Photoshop. I really enjoyed using Photoshop in my own time, for things like my blog logo!

Apparently 80% of the graduates this year finished with a merit or distinction which is a ridiculously high amount! The links that the college have with the industry is really second to none. 

Well I know its been a long one! I hope this was helpful to you if you're thinking of applying and wanted to know more of what it's like. Make sure you have a look at their website too. Thank you as always for reading! 






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