St James Quarter is filling up with big names, but this big name has a different involvement. The Fashion Retail Academy (FRA) hopes to help SJQ train up a talent pool to draw on when staffing the retail shops in the £1 billion development.

The trained staff could study now in advance of getting a job there on a course which is the result of a partnership with Edinburgh College.

The FRA is said to be the quickest route to a career in fashion retail. It offers a range of courses with ‘unparalleled’ industry involvement, ensuring the students progress to employment.

Edinburgh College has had funding assistance from St James Quarter and has worked with the FRA to develop the new programme. Students with a passion for fashion began on 25 January.

This will be a long term relationship and is designed to enhance Edinburgh’s talent pool for roles in retail. This will provide a resource for staff at St James Quarter and elsewhere. FRA will provide its own expert resources to the programme.

The students on the SCQF Level 5 course in Retail Fashion, Branding and Marketing will learn about fashion retailing; branding and marketing; satisfying customer needs and digital retailing and will have a specific focus on the best ways to meet the needs of retailers, drawing on the most up-to-date research on the retail workforce and accounting for the acceleration of current trends brought about by the pandemic.

Students at Fashion Retail Academy

Rochelle Burgess, Marketing Director at St James Quarter, said: “This partnership has been years in the making and we’re delighted to finally bring this course to life and to Edinburgh for the first time. With all the leading brands coming to St James Quarter, there’s lots of amazing employment opportunities coming too – this is an incredible way to support our local graduates, nurture local talent and bring a globally recognised curriculum to our city.

“After a very challenging year, one of our key focuses is to boost the Scottish retail industry and help the next generation receive the opportunities and support they need to work within it. 

“Partnering with Edinburgh College and Fashion Retail Academy is a very exciting project for us and we’re looking forward to seeing how the students develop throughout the duration of the course.”

Amanda Colvin, Director of Marketing & Sales, Fashion Retail Academy, said: “This exciting opportunity to partner with Edinburgh College has given FRA the ability to extend its reach and support more young people who want to start a career in fashion retail, at the same time as providing the industry and St James Quarter with entry level talent who can hit the ground running on graduation.  We hope this is the start of a long & successful collaboration, bringing a range of specialist fashion courses to Edinburgh. “

Audrey Cumberford, Edinburgh College Principal, said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with the Fashion Retail Academy, and the St James Quarter, to offer people in the region an opportunity to develop their careers in fashion and retail through world-class training.

“Working with the Fashion Retail Academy to deliver the Certificate in Retail Fashion, Branding and Marketing course enables us to combine the knowledge and expertise of our lecturers with the FRA’s retail education specialists – providing students with the skills they need to succeed, and retailers with a highly-skilled, talented workforce. 

“We are excited to be the first Scottish College to collaborate with the FRA in this way and we are looking forward to developing the partnership further to create a talent pipeline which will provide world-class customer service to the people of Edinburgh.”