1 A-Level & 5 GCSEs
£4,220 (Loans Available)
3 Week Work Placement
STUDY LEVEL 4 FAST-TRACK BUYING & MERCHANDISING
By studying Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising, you’ll develop the essential skills you need to start in an entry-level buying or merchandising role.
In just 22 weeks, we'll teach you how to plan and trade a fashion season from concept to consumer.
- Learn to plan, build and manage ranges to maximise sales
- Design collections that satisfy customer demands and reach profit targets
- Master the skills you need for an entry-level role in just 22 weeks
IN WORK OR HIGHER EDUCATION
96% of our students are employed or continuing their studies within 6 months of completing Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising.
WORKING 25+ HOURS A WEEK
All of our Fast Track Buying & Merchandising students who opted to the industry are now working 25+ hours a week.
WEEKS TO FINISH
Be ready for an entry-level buying or merchandising role in just 22 weeks
My first career was in banking, but I always knew that I wanted to work in fashion. After a brief career break, I found the Fashion Retail Academy. My overall experience has been really great, everyone was really welcoming. I’ve not quite finished my course yet, but I’ve already started my first full-time job in fashion as a Merchandising Admin Administrator for Whistles!
Lena, Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising and MAA at Whistles
Any time is the right time to change your career. Studying at the Fashion Retail Academy has shown me I’m really passionate about fashion and it’s the industry I want to work in long-term. I just had a call from ASOS offering me a job as a Buyer's Admin Assistant - that’s the reason I enrolled at the Fashion Retail Academy!
John, Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising and BAA at ASOS
The Fashion Retail Academy gave me a great opportunity to explore both buying and merchandising. The support from all the tutors in each class was incredible, and the course was very easy to manage around a part-time work schedule.
Joseph, Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising alumni and BAA at River Island
Studying at the Fashion Retail Academy helped me transfer my skills from buying to wholesale. In my current role, I meet buyers from brands regularly and help them plan for their season. I recently hosted my own appointments at a trade show in Birmingham! I’m very thankful to the FRA and how quickly the course enabled me to progress in my career.
Lauren, Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising alumni and Wholesale Sales Executive at Radley and Co.
Choosing the Fashion Retail Academy was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The work placement opportunities were a highlight for me, as I gained invaluable knowledge that set me up for a career in retail. There is nothing I would change about my time at the FRA. I wish I could have stayed longer!
Amy, Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising
Investigate the role of the buying and merchandising departments in a fashion head office.
In this dynamic 22-week Buying & Merchandising course, you’ll learn how these teams work together to plan and trade a fashion season from concept to consumer.
We’ll teach you how to combine business and creative skills to succeed as a buyer or merchandiser. You’ll discover how shifts in consumer spending behaviour, advances in technology and social change have impacted the fashion industry. You’ll also develop your trend-forecasting skills and learn to analyse patterns of consumer behaviour. Combining all of your new skills, you’ll learn to create commercially profitable ranges.
We’ll teach you how buyers and merchandisers collaborate with design, garment technology, sourcing and marketing teams. You’ll discover how to work with the development teams to construct, improve and manufacture garments that successfully satisfy customer demand and maximise sales for a business. You’ll also explore how markdowns and promotions can impact your results.
By exploring the global market, you’ll learn how to source fabric, trims and garments from an international supply chain whilst navigating cultural barriers and external constraints. You’ll gain an understanding of the complex issues around ethics and sustainability facing fashion retail in today’s world. You’ll also learn the fundamentals for managing the fashion critical path: a vital element of the buying and merchandising departments. We’ll teach you the techniques for buying products in the right quantities, making sure it arrives in stores at the right time to successfully sell.
Our Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising course is a great choice if you’re looking to combine creative and commercial skills for a career in fashion buying and merchandising.
Our Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising course covers:
- Fashion Retail Buying and Merchandising Environment: Explore the role of buying and merchandising within the fashion industry in a variety of business contexts. Research and analyse key factors that influence buying decisions, such as changes in fashion design, trend forecasting and customer profiles. Understand the buying and merchandising calendar, both in the UK and globally. Hear from industry professionals about their experiences and current challenges.
- Principles of Planning and Trading a Range: Combine business and creative skills to create successful and profitable range plans. Discover how to work with a development team to manage the design, production and quality of products in a range, and the financial and marketing elements that support this. Create visual range plans using a variety of design software and master the basics of excel.
- Fashion Retail Buying Principles: Learn about the global market, fabric sourcing, the supply chain, as well as the ethical and political parameters all buyers must work within. Explore how to source and manufacture in different regions, along with how to develop an effective supply chain and strong working relationships with factories and brands. Visit a UK garment manufacturer to see first hand how our clothes are made.
- Past, Present and Future: Gain a deeper understanding of the fashion industry by exploring its history, as well as the cultural and environmental influences which impact it. Develop academic writing, research, and analytical skills.
- Individual Negotiated Fashion Retail Project: Combine creative and business skills to create a viable business proposition of your own choice to demonstrate your learning. Develop presentation, research, and time management skills.
- Preparation for Progression in Fashion Retail: Discover how to identify relevant employment opportunities and prepare for interviews after graduating. Learn professional skills including CV writing and portfolio creation. You could have an opportunity to take part in a live assessment set by one of our brand partners.
We're proud of our exceptional fashion buying and merchandising industry links to over 140 major brands at the Fashion Retail Academy. All our tutors have worked in the industry, and have plenty of knowledge and experience to share.
During your Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising course, you’ll have regular enrichment from our industry and retail partners. We’ll teach you to develop a strong professional network that will support you throughout your career. You’ll also take part in projects and challenges set by brands that help you to develop valuable professional skills.
VISITING INDUSTRY EXPERTS
You’ll receive regular classes and lectures from Visiting Industry Experts (VIEs), from top brands in the fashion industry. They’ll also set projects and tasks for you to complete.
Our VIEs will give you feedback on your work and tell you how their brand might react in similar circumstances, helping give context and direction to your studies. These projects will also develop your professional skills in time management, team building and prioritising for deadlines.
Previous projects have been set by retailers including Alexander McQueen, ASOS, Sweaty Betty and H&M.
THREE-WEEK work placement
You’ll have the opportunity to complete a three-week industry work placement as part of your Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising course. We'll assign you to an industry manager, and you'll work either remotely or in the office. You’ll be given tasks to complete, giving you an understanding of a specific job role and its place within an organisation. You could be working in a single team, or across multiple areas of the business. You might be alone, or working in a small group. You’ll earn practical, professional skills that give a valuable boost to your CV.
Previous students have completed placements with Fortnum & Mason, Next, John Lewis, Whistles and Harvey Nichols.
After completing Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising, you’ll be ready to progress straight into an entry-level role in industry.
Popular roles include Buying Admin Assistant, Merchandising Admin Assistant, Allocator or Buying Clerk.
There is particular demand in the industry at the moment for entry-level merchandisers, with opportunities for rapid progression for strong candidates.
Find out more about our Fashion Careers Service
All our Level 4 specialist higher Diplomas come with our Job Guarantee.
We design our courses alongside our industry partners to teach you the skills and attributes you need to secure a job. So, if you’re not offered one within six months of completing your course, we’ll refund your course fees in full.
This offer applies to students who are paying privately or using the Advanced Learner Loan to fund their studies. If you secured a loan to pay for your course, we will not refund your loan interest.
See our Terms & Conditions for our full eligibility criteria.
University of the Arts London
February and September
22 weeks, delivered over 2 days per week
- Sep 2023 Intake: Wednesday & Thursday
£4,220. Advanced Learner Loans are available
- 1 A-level or the equivalent Level 3 qualification
- 5 GCSEs grade C/4 or above, including Maths and English (either Language or Literature)
For non-UK qualifications, please provide an ENIC Statement of Comparability.
If you're applying from a non-English speaking country, you'll need at least 5.5 overall and in each section of IELTS test for English language
The course is 100% coursework via termly assignments that measure your knowledge and understanding.
After completing our online form, we'll process your application and send you the outcome by post and email in 5-10 working days. We process applications in the order we receive them, and offers are made on a first-come, first-served basis.
- If you have your exam results and you meet the course's entry requirements, you'll be given an unconditional offer.
- If you don't have your results yet, your offer will be conditional on you meeting the entry requirements.
Your place on the Level 4 Fast Track Buying & Merchandising is only secure after you have completed enrolment.
February 2023 Cohort
- Work Placement: 26 June - 14 July
- End of Term: 20 July 2023
*Term dates are subject to change
September 2023 Cohort
- Start date: 29 August 2023
- Half Term: 18 - 29 December
- End of term: 5 February 2024
February 2024 Cohort
- Start date: 19 February 2024
- End of term: 15 July 2024
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