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Fashion Apprenticeships Overseas! Get A Job Before You Go!
Have you ever dreamed about working in a fashion apprenticeship overseas? Imagine the glamour and prestige of having an apprenticeship at a top New York, LA or San Francisco fashion house on your CV? Imagine securing a job before you set off into the sunset…
I have just found out that it’s possible! In the competitive world of fashion you need to look at a point of difference; an experience and life skill that is going to set you apart from the graduating masses from Australian Uni’s, Tafe’s and Private Colleges. The short of it is you all qualify to work in the industry, it’s just the jobs are so few and far between you need to be able to show a future employer you’ve got something different to offer… So let me tell you a few ways that you can get some savvy o.s experience and knock the socks off any employer in fashion when you return…
Option One – buy a ticket and knock on doors. This is expensive and can be unfruitful! Many have scored it lucky when they pack their bags and knock on the door of their favourite fashion house overseas but it often has its pitfalls. If you find a company that will take you on often due to visa problems you can’t work for an extended amount of time and more often the pay can be very low or even work experience (unpaid). So yes, you can say you worked for so and so but ultimately it was not real in-depth experience and you will probably need to wait tables at night to fund the rest of your trip!
Option Two – buy a ticket and visit a temping agency when you arrive. I have seen many fashion graduates work for fabulous companies in the UK, Europe and USA thru Temporary Agencies. If you don’t mind lots of variety and you can be flexible about the type of companies you work for you can find yourself in great roles with fabulous brands. In terms of really learning the ropes the major pitfall can be a day here and a day there which is not going to leave you with any solid knowledge but the upside can be that you could score it lucky and have an extended stay in a company you love… it has happened..
Option Three – finding an internship before you go. I recently came across a company who arranges 18 month internships with amazing companies in the USA. If you have the qualifying experience, usually a fashion degree or diploma or 18 months fashion work experience you can apply. The amazing thing with these internships is that you get a Visa to work for a whole 18 months with one company and you also get paid a salary while you work (and there are more benefits on arrival too!). There are some costs to get your visa and your travel costs as you would expect but the fact that you have a guaranteed job when you arrive and 18 months experience with one company is a great deal. The internships that I have seen are really comprehensive and take you thru an 18 month program, so you clearly learn the ropes – not pack boxes and run errands. For more information you can contact Chris Gegg at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to the global recruitment website www.globalrecruitment.com
What can you expect when you return! Overseas experience is great and many employers are happy when you Gen Y’s have the ‘travel bug’ out of your system. The solid experience that you get from an internship would be considered like working in a full time job and the knowledge you have gained is highly attractive to Australian Fashion employers.
Don’t fall into the trap of over stating your experience when you return if you have only worked for a flick of an eye with major brands overseas – a week here and a week there. Unfortunately you just don’t get given much autonomy when you are a ‘fill in staff member’ and even though the experience may have seemed intense to you. In the eyes of an employer it’s the longevity that counts. So a few weeks here and a few weeks there may not impress them enough…
What ever you end up doing here are my golden rules… Record all jobs overseas and at the time that you end each job write a list of the experiences you had while they are fresh in your mind. Get a reference or at least a ‘certificate of work’ from each employer. Also get email addresses and phone numbers of referee’s. Make sure the referee’s are Management level and not just colleagues you befriended! Explain gaps in work while you traveled and don’t overstate any experience, the global hub of fashion is a small community – you just never know who knows who!
Above all good luck, enjoy the experience and don’t forget to stay in touch with your loved ones while you are away!
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