Focus group work complete as first step towards the Vetrine Study

To gain insight into what two of VETRINE target groups, namely VET and market linked companies, think about the apparel industry and its sustainability aspects as well as which interests they may have and what contents may suit them in a Capacity Building Programme, VETRINE has conducted 27 focus group sessions in four project countries: Bulgaria, Greece, Portugal and Spain. The deliverable produced from these sessions is not publicly available due to the sensitive material contained, however it represents a considerable achievement and first step towards what we’re calling the “Vetrine Study”.

The focus group participant profiles corresponded to VET learners enrolled in textile courses that generally fit into the European Qualifications Framework (EQF) levels 4 and 5. With regards to market-linked participants, a wide range of the T&C sector was represented with the presence of small production companies, family businesses, freelance designers, designers with their own brands, fabrics producers and designers, sewing workshops, synthetic yarn producers, associations of chemists and colorists, consultants, hat manufacturers, spinning companies, ribbons and elastic band manufacturers, innovation and research centres, textile businesses associations, and so on. From the data collected, qualitative insights were gained leading to interesting conclusions that will help us guide our work.

At this early stage we can anticipate that this part of our work confirmed some of the early hypotheses that guided the creation of this project, namely that there are gaps in VET education related in particular to sustainability, as well as in technical knowledge and business operational knowledge. In the T&C industry, where an influx of trained figures for the next generation will certainly be a plus, there were concerns about knowing and meeting new sustainability requirements or legislations, appropriate certifications, and related costs.

The publicly available VETRINE Study is something to look forward to for stakeholders involved in VET training or any stage of the T&C value chain. This study will be published in July 2024 and will represent a summary of both the focus group results and the extensiv research being carried out by project partners on market analysis, materials and their impacts, and VET institutional structure. This work that is well underway is the backbone of the VETRINE project and will guide us in the creation of the capacity building programme.