Gresse Street in London to home public/private venture
Fashion Retail Academy, first proposed in October last year, will open its doors to students in late autumn.

The Academy, on Gresse Street in London's West End, is being established as a joint public/private initiative between Green's Arcadia and the DfES/Learning and Skills Council. The£20 million cost of establishing the Academy will be split evenly between the retailer and the Government body, after which operating costs will be met by the Learning and Skills Council.

The first year's intake of 60 students is expected to swell ultimately to 350 and, as the college becomes established, the Learning Skills Council expects to attract substantial sponsorship from other major retailers.

'It's at a very early stage, so it will be up to retailers to look at what the Academy is doing and get involved in the future, but we think it's really important to have the involvement of potential retail employers to ensure that the courses being taught are as relevant and specifically-tailored as possible,' said a spokeswoman for the DfES.

Students at the Academy will be aged between 16 and 18, and will study a two-year Diploma in Fashion Retailing equivalent to an A Level qualification. Potential students can apply via the Arcadia web site from April 1. Teaching on the course will be a combination of academic study, work experience and masterclasses from established retailers.