Nurturing Grant Update -The Social Studio

Update from our 2021 Nurturing Grant Award Winner – The Social Studio 

In 2021, MWF’s membership awarded their $35,000 Nurturing Grant to The Social Studio to support an exciting initiative, Designing Our Futures: Women’s Empowerment Scholarships, to engage young women from refugee or migrant backgrounds in further education in the fashion industry, providing the skills, confidence and qualifications necessary to create secure futures for themselves.    

Now approximately halfway through this MWF-funded initiative, The Social Studio has so far undertaken the following:  

Education and training  

  • Placed seven new participants in the 24-month Certificate III in Clothing Production, bringing the total to 16 with another two joining soon 
  • Provided a virtual tour to Holmesglen and on-site learning at RMIT’s Brunswick campus  

Employment, employment pathways, industry connections  

  • Placed three students into casual work, and one into full-time employment   
  • Provided a tour of a screen-printing factory 

Holistic support and skills development  

  • Provided eight students with a workshop in illustration and print design  
  • Enabled 12 students to design, develop and produce garments for the ‘Takeover’ public event on the steps of Parliament  
  • Provided four women with weekly English as an Additional Language lessons  

These results are particularly pleasing given that the past semester at the Social Studio was marked by ongoing student and staff absences due to COVID, and many students needing to take time to care for family members as well. This has interrupted many of the planned extra-curricular activities as students have had to focus on completing the course requirements.  

Aziza’s story  

A young entrepreneur with her own fashion start-up, Aziza arrived in Australia from Somalia as a child. Aziza came to The Social Studio looking to stretch herself – personally and professionally.  

“I came here to obviously learn how to sew but it was more a change of career for me,” she says. “Learning to sew has always been one of my biggest goals.”  

Having heard about The Social Studio from friends and community members over the years, she says it’s a school like no other she’s been to.  

“I’ve loved my time so far. When I first came here, honestly, I felt nervous. But I immediately felt welcome. It’s not your regular teacher-student relationship. They’re more connected.”  

Aziza has been working with The Social Studio’s student pathways coordinator, Nasiim, and teaching staff to set goals for her studies and own professional development. Earlier this year, she began working for a local fashion wholesaler, gaining experience in garment quality control and basic sewing – a job facilitated through The Social Studio.  

With goals to continue her fashion studies and hopefully work as a designer one day, Aziza’s horizons are ever-expanding.  

“If anything, it’s got me more excited and ambitious,” she says.  

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