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Alice Turner, Banana Moon

I work at Banana Moon which is a personalised clothing company working in embroidery and print decoration. I am a design supervisor. I deal mainly with print orders that come through – we do screen print, heat transfer and most recently direct to garment. I also have a major role in a fashion brand that we are building within the company called Olive & Grace – we have an Etsy shop at the moment and it’s a really fun project for us to be able to sell originally designed printed and embroidered clothing. I did an intermediate Level 2 apprenticeship in apparel, manufacturing sewn products.

I think doing an apprenticeship has helped me learn a lot about the company I work for and about having a job in general. I did a degree in Textile Design but felt I came out of it not really knowing about the world of work, apart from a placement year I did within my degree. The apprenticeship has really helped me become more aware in my workplace and not be afraid to ask questions about how processes are being run. As this is my first job it has helped me gain a lot more confidence because I have had to put myself out there to speak to different people and speak about why we should introduce new things. The apprenticeship has helped me keep track of everything I have learnt and been working on. In the future I think this will be a really good example of evidence to show skills I have learnt and what I am capable of doing in the textile industry.

I work full time at Banana Moon – I have recently done a supervisor training course so am now one of two supervisors for our design team here. I am really happy with the role I have and am still learning and developing my skills every day. My ambition is to keep learning more about the

textile industry and to become more involved in the work going on in the area, and keeping up to date with changes that are being made in the industry as a whole. I am extremely interested in looking more into the environmental impact the textile and fashion industry has and small ways I can help to improve the damage it is causing within the work I do. We are just introducing direct to garment printing within the company – something I have been involved in researching into – this uses water based inks which are going to have a much better impact on the environment compared to the plastisol inks we use for screen print.

I would love to see apprenticeships more widely publicised in schools – I felt when I was doing my A-levels it seemed a degree was my only option once I had completed them and that’s what route we were all pushed down. If I had my time again I would probably consider doing an apprenticeship and getting a degree that way, as working and being within the industry is invaluable experience.

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