The Centrality of Employability in the BA (Hons) in Hand Embroidery for Fashion, Interiors, Textile Art


  • Susan Kay-Williams Royal School of Needlework


This paper explores how and why the School has put employability at the heart of its degree programme and the student experience. The approaches taken include engagement with live projects, seeking out new opportunities for students to work with practitioners and welcoming the unexpected requests where they can be incorporated within or alongside the course.

The paper will first discuss the naming of the course and how this underpins the breadth of focus within the course, giving students the opportunity to find their own preferred areas through experience, rather than assumption.

It will then review the approach that has been taken to the live project, giving students a real experience that may include factors of time, budget, collaborative working, etc in response to the brief.

The paper also examines the relationships within the industry and how this has led to invitations to students to participate in third party experiences in fashion, haute couture, film costume and more.

The final section will look at how the course responds to external opportunities that it is believed will give students a worthwhile experience. Though these may run alongside the course rather than a core part of it, it will show how these can still be a recognisable part of student experience and recorded as part of the student’s research and experimentation.

Such opportunities help students to understand various elements of future employment, especially where they are likely to be self employed, including time planning and competing deadlines, budgets, responding to third party briefs, working on something that might become repetitious and continuing to enhance their skills. All of these areas are offered to the students, along with a focus on the value of hand embroidery and its worth as more than something only found in the backroom atelier. 

Author Biography

Susan Kay-Williams, Royal School of Needlework

Dr Susan Kay-Williams, Royal School of Needlework




Research papers