Industry Partnered Learning – Bachelor of Fashion Enterprise

Career Development Learning in Fashion Enterprise: Improving students’ career-readiness through industry partnered learning.

  • Industry Partnered Learning in Product Development Courses
  • BP 327 Bachelor of Fashion (Enterprise)
  • Course: GRAP2799-Fashion Range Development

Caprice x RMIT Bachelor of Fashion (Enterprise)

Find out more about the RMIT x Caprice partnership, a hands on learning experience for our Bachelor of Fashion (Enterprise) students. Meet Caprice CEO Paul Cannon and Sustainability Manager Corinne Hollier, the Course Coordinator Dr. Carolina Quintero Rodriguez, as well as two students Rebecca Lee and Erin Box as they provide insight into this opportunity for our Fashion (Enterprise) students.

Based on the initiative of Industry Partnered Learning, the Fashion Range Development course partners with the Australian fashion wholesaler Caprice Australia, developing a range of children’s and youth’s fashion in response to a brief focused on mass market appeal and sustainability. In conjunction with weekly lectures and weekly industry speakers, the course creates an inspiring, skills focused and motivating environment, based on the pedagogy of authentic learning. 

The program’s second-year WIL course, centres around this industry project, for which students form teams to undertake the full journey from consumer research to product development, to marketing. The students have 3 checkpoints with the industry partner to gain critical and commercial feedback that contributes to the development of the project. The project also exemplifies a strong and explicit approach to supporting students in identifying skills used during an industry experience and using this knowledge to support their entry into the world of work.

The course also included the possibility for students to apply for two internships each semester, which have led to real employment opportunities.

In addition to the skills, experience and confidence students gain from their participation in the industry project, the project aims to maximise students’ Career Development Learning (CDL) through this experience. 

Two Micro-Creds (Constructive Conversations and Agile Ways of Working) were added to the course assessment in order to develop students’ skills and capabilities for life and work. A further opportunity was identified to support students' ability to articulate their developing skillsets with a standard of clarity and specificity that would support their industry readiness, ensuring they were well-placed to identify and demonstrate their skills in the context of job application processes. 

To this end, with the support of RMIT’s Career Development Learning team, a  ‘Skills Development Reflection’ assessment component was developed in which students were required to write an academic reflection to describe, interpret and evaluate one of their main course learnings and to determine how this learning will be applied in practise. They reflect on their performance as an individual, the contribution they made, and the role they undertook in their team, culminating in the identification of three career-relevant skills they gained or strengthened through the industry project. Students then present their evidence for three main skills for potential future inclusion in job/internship applications.

The industry partnered learning activities designed for the Fashion Range Development course creates an inspiring, skills focused and motivating course environment, based on the pedagogy of authentic learning.  

After trialling the assessment development and supporting materials designed for the Fashion Range Development Course, considerable gains for students through the assessment were noted. Samples of student submissions reflect a standard of insight into their own professional skills and the value of their WIL experience that is well suited to the construction of industry-ready resumes as well as responses to interview questions and Key Selection Criteria.

Quotes from students

Working with our industry partner caprice, has been such an engaging new experience. It has made our assignment feel more like work and has set a scene in my head for work mindset in my future career. I liked that we could present fresh ideas to people that were interested in the assignment work we were doing. It felt gratifying and inspirational. It was also so interesting to see the whole process of creating a garment, Caprice really showed us the work and efforts of a team working towards a goal.
As the project manager, I collaborated to develop an industry project, whereby I contributed my creativity and organisational skills to achieve a high distinction alongside my group. As project manager, I showed empathy with members struggling to complete tasks, delegated tasks, and always took initiative to motivate our group.
I am confident that I have demonstrated strong initiative and adopted a leadership role in team settings. I have often initiated group meetings and discussions in order to work successfully as a team, which has benefited in achieving a high standard of work.
Critical thinking allowed me to re-imagine and refine a clothing range and concept with the input of a reputable industry partner. Using my ability to analyze the feedback given to us objectively, I helped my team to produce a unique clothing line within the client's guidelines that achieved a distinction grade.
I stepped up and took upon a leadership role within an industry project; becoming a voice within the team; a delegator and someone to check progress and team opinions. Through filling this position; I encouraged my team to work through strains, to produce a high distinction result and a healthy group dynamic.
In completing Fashion Range Development course, I have improved and develop skills on many areas. As the course revolves around group projects on all the assignments, it helps motivated me to be more precise in time management as it involves other people. I have always tried to manage balancing between working on the assignments, other courses, social life, and work commitment. The guest speakers on each week have been eye opening to all the different roles in the fashion industry and how important each and every one of them. It was exciting to hear all the stories that they experienced working in the industry and all the steps that they undertake for them to be in that position.

The strength of these outcomes is a likely support of the notably positive shifts in students’ perceptions of their own career readiness as they progress through the Bachelor of Fashion Enterprise, as measured by Career Enrolment Data. The table below, which compares the relevant cohort of students at the beginning and near the end of their studies in the program, indicates significant reduction in the two least-ready categories [DECIDE AND PLAN] and a strong increase in the most-ready category [SORTED].

Phase 

First year 2020 Sem 1 [53] 

Third year 2022 Sem 1 [35] 

DECIDE 

49.06% [26] 

42.86% [15] 

PLAN 

47.17% [25] 

37.14% [13] 

COMPETE 

0.00% [0] 

2.86% [1] 

SORTED 

3.77% [2] 

17.14% [6] 

'Industry is one of the primary customers of the university. Those customers are constantly challenging academia to make curricula more relevant to professional practice' (Lamancusa et al. 2008)1. Throughout the project, it has been clear that the industry partner, Caprice, has been strongly impressed by RMIT fashion students’ skills and career readiness. The following statement appears on their website:

The work that they delivered, from consumer research, product development and marketing was extremely impressive, and we can’t wait to see what the 2022 cohort will bring to our project this year.

1 Lamancusa, JS, Zayas, JL, Soyster, AL, Morell, L & Jorgensen, J 2008, 'The learning factory: Industry-partnered active learning', Journal of engineering education (Washington, D.C.), vol. 97, no. 1, pp. 5-11.

IPL is an overarching term referring to a range of industry engaged and informed learning and assessment activities, and co-designed curriculum.

IPL includes Work Integrated Learning (WIL), but extends beyond this category of placements, industry partnered projects and simulated workplace environments. It encompasses Career Development Learning (CDL) activities aimed at enhancing student's self-awareness and proactive agency of their career management goals.

It also includes other forms of industry engaged pedagogies, such as industry networking events, hackathons and entrepreneurial activities, industry mentoring, industry speakers and workshops.

WIL is an umbrella term describing a range of models and approaches to learning and assessment that integrates discipline theory, knowledge and skills with the practice of work as an integral part of program design. 
 
Industry engaged WIL activities involve students interacting with organisations (industry, government and community) through discipline relevant projects and work placements. These WIL activities may be face-to-face, online or a blended approach. 

WIL activities at RMIT are aligned to course and program learning outcomes. These WIL activities are assessed, involve authentic engagement with industry and community, are integrated across the whole program, and undertaken in a workplace context whether on or off campus, or online. 

CDL refers to the scaffolded careers education learning and assessment activities required in all RMIT programs. The focus of this learning is to prepare students for the lifelong process of managing a career. It supports students in planning, preparing and making informed decisions about education, training, experience and career choices.  
 
It also encompasses students’ developing abilities to understand the value of the knowledge, skills and experience they gain through their studies, enabling them to communicate these assets effectively as they move towards a contemporary, ever-changing labour market.  

Effective embedding of CDL into curriculum enables career management skills to be taught in context (wrapped around WIL) and supports an equitable and accessible model of career education for all students. 

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.