In celebration of National Apprenticeship WeekBoBelle‘s Claire Watt-Smith tells The Industry why she’s proud to support traditional British craftsmanship.

Claire Watt-Smith BoBelle Somerset House ShotBoBelle chief executive and Industry member, Claire Watt-Smith outside her Somerset House headquarters

Whilst businesses across the country are lauding apprentices for National Apprenticeship Week, such initiatives sadly remain something of a rarity in fashion. Apprenticeship completions are expected to contribute gains of up to £3.4 billion come 2022, with a new report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research finding that the average apprentice increases business productivity by £214 per week. This leads to increased profits, lower prices, better products and higher wages.

The Industry‘s Claire Watt-Smith is a savvy entrepreneur implementing such factors into her fashion venture. As the chief executive of luxury handbag label BoBelle, Claire prides her business model on British manufacture. ‘Made in England’ is a BoBelle hallmark, and the Somerset based factory that produces her bags nurtures the highest quality skills through the employment of apprentices. “From handle to zip, every last inch of a BoBelle handbag is stitched here in England – it’s what our brand stands for,” says Claire. “There’s fabulous craftsmanship here in Britain, and I’m proud to say that our factory encourages apprentices to learn skills before they are lost.”

Capturing the broader economic context in a sentence, Nick Clegg bolstered Claire‘s view. “Apprenticeships are at the heart of our drive for a stronger economy, equipping people of all ages with the skills employers need to prosper and compete, often in a global market,” explained the Prime Minister this week.