31 August, 2021 | Posted by Michelle Hogan

How Do You Start a Career in Fashion After the Leaving Cert?

Career in Fashion Leaving Certificate

Starting a career in the business of fashion after the Leaving Cert may seem complicated but it doesn’t have to be. 

While fashion trends change from season to season the fundamental role of the fashion buyer and fashion merchandiser remains the same.

At Portobello Institute, we have the pathway to a career in the business of fashion that suits young people perfectly.

Entry is not by CAO, you can apply directly to Portobello Institute.

Our full-time QQI Level 5 Major Award in Fashion Buying and Merchandising gives you the opportunity to qualify and work as a fashion buyer or merchandiser. 

This programme encompasses the foundations that are necessary to succeed as a fashion buyer in today’s competitive environment.  

As a fashion buyer, or fashion buyer assistant, you will play an integral role within the infrastructure of the retail team, tracking and analysing seasonal trends, ensuring production costs are kept within budget and most importantly, ensuring profit and growth for the company.

You must have a good eye for style and trends together with a great sense of design and creativity, but foremost you must have good business acumen to achieve sales targets.

What Will I Study? 

The aim of this course is to prepare graduates to secure employment in the fashion retail sector.

The course content covers a broad range of fashion modules including fashion industry and design, fashion styling, visual display, fashion buying and merchandising and retail selling.  

You will learn trend forecasting skills and how to profile a customer. You will learn the skills needed to develop a range plan of products together using both mathematical and creative skills. 

You will also learn about supplier relationships, key performance indicators, presentation skills and store merchandising so you understand how to maximise space to sales ratios. In fashion buying, you will develop range plans and mood boards in class and also present to the group. 

You will also learn design, how a garment is constructed and how materials are sourced. In class the students learn how to sew and design, draft a pattern and create a garment from scratch while learning how to sew. You will develop key skills in merchandising learning how create planograms and the opportunity to produce a retail window display which is part of the assessment process. 

The course also includes a number of key business modules which will provide you with the essential business knowledge and skills needed to work as a fashion buyer or merchandiser such as spreadsheet management, fashion administration and digital marketing. 

What Jobs Can You Get In the Business of Fashion?

Our graduates have gone on to work in various roles at: 

  • Primark 
  • Junk Kouture 
  • Diesel 
  • Pamela Scott  
  • Brown Thomas  
  • Urban Outfitters 
  • Best Seller  
  • Dunnes Stores  
  • Arnotts  
  • Vera Moda 
  • Harvey Nichols  
  • Jack Jones 
  • Lifestyle Sports 
  • Richemont Group 
  • And more!  

What Do Our Graduates Say?  

Rebecca Fox – Successful Journey To Fashion Buying Assistant at Pamela Scott 

Having successfully completed our two-year programme of Fashion Buying and Merchandising (QQI Level 5, Year 1) and Fashion Management (QQI Level 6, Year 2), Rebecca is now working in the exciting, dynamic role of Administrative Fashion Buying Assistant at Pamela Scott and running her own fashion business with her sister.   

I think the great thing about Portobello is that when you first start and they tell you that you’ll get internships and you can get jobs after this course – and you actually do. There are so many colleges that say that and then the course ends, and you have no idea where to even begin. 

“I got so much hands-on experience during my time at Portobello. I did a couple of days with the stylist Kathy O’Connor working on charity fashion shows, picking things for the Brown Thomas fashion shows," she said.

Lorna Skelly – Fashion Buying Internship To Dream Job 

Fashion Buying and Merchandising graduate, Lorna Skelly, completed her course at Portobello, went on to do a six-week internship at Primark where she was later offered a full-time buyers role in her dream job. 

“After completing the course I was offered a six-week internship with Primark through Portobello Institute. 

“The experience I gained during my internship with Primark was invaluable. I was working alongside the women’s sportswear team and learned so much from them. 

“During the six weeks, I was shadowing the trainee buyer on the team. Every Monday we would attend trade meetings discussing the sales of our products from the previous week. We would attend fit sessions with products that were being developed and would issue comments and changes that had to be made to the supplier. 

“I am delighted to say that from my internship l was interviewed and offered a position on the buying department of Primark. Dreams really do come true in with the help of Anne-Marie and Portobello Institute," she said.

If you are interested in gaining qualifications in the business of fashion, check out our Year 1 – Fashion Buying and Merchandising Level 5 course and Year 2 Fashion Management Level 6 course. 

Contact our admissions expert, George Boylan, by emailing george.boylan@portobelloinstitute.com or call 01 892 0041. 

We also run a three-module booking package.

Head to the Business of Fashion Knowledge Zone for more articles and follow @fashionportobello on Instagram. 

Portobello Insider

Join our mailing list to receive the latest insights and exclusive content from your chosen department of interest