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European Vocational Skills Week
News article11 July 2019Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion

Famous women in VET

Famous women in VET

Many women who have undertaken vocational education and training have become successful in their careers. This article will explore the career paths of three such women.

Clare Smyth, Chef (1978). Clare focused her training on the culinary arts and catering. She started her career as an apprentice for Gordon Ramsay, who similarly began his career as an apprentice. Not only was Clare the first female in the UK to become head chef at a restaurant with three Michelin stars but she has gone on to run her own two Michelin star restaurant, earning multiple awards, including the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), along the way.

Diane von Fürstenberg, Fashion Designer (1946). Diane is a Belgian fashion designer who also started her career as an apprentice. After studying economics at university, she chose to focus on fashion. She was later employed as an apprentice to textile manufacturer Angelo Ferretti, with whom she learnt her trade and began to produce her first designs. Diane has since become a pop culture icon and, in 2014, was named the 68th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine.

Sofonisba Anguissola, Renaissance painter (1532-1625). An early female student of VET, Italian-born Sofonisba established a basis for women to be accepted as students of art. She had multiple apprenticeships with local painters, including respected portraitist and religious painter of the Lombard school, Bernardino Campi. Her training enabled her to become a pivotal figure in feminist art circles, paving the way for more women to pursue careers as artists.

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