Skip to main content

Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fashion Business

This Level 3 pathway has been specifically designed for students wishing to study Fashion Business alongside work experience, tutorial and personal and professional development.

Apply Now

Course Summary

Subject Area: Business, Leadership and Management
School Leaver - Vocational/Technical
Location: Joseph Wright Centre
Full Time or Part Time: FT
Level: 3
Number Of Years: 2
Interview Required?: Y
Joseph Wright Centre

Apply now at:
QR Code

Course Information for Students

The Level 3 Extended Diploma in Fashion Business and Retail pathway has been specifically designed for students wishing to study Fashion Business and Retail alongside work experience, tutorial and personal and professional development.

The qualification is designed for students aged 16 years or over who have five GCSEs at grade 4 and above (to include Maths, English and preferably business and/or a creative subject). The Fashion Business pathway provides opportunities for integrated learning through practical, creative application and commercial, academic activities that replicate industry. The delivery and assessment approach ensures you have a fulfilling experience while developing personal attributes and the skills and knowledge to excel in the fashion business industry, from buying and merchandising to marketing, branding, promotion and visual merchandising (to name but a few career options). 

As identified by the sector, a career in Fashion Business represents a future of unlimited potential, responsibility, and personal development. The programme provides a unique opportunity to progress within the sector or into higher study (to a HNC or honours degree) and a fulfilling career within Fashion Business.

The Advanced Fashion Business and Retail course has been designed holistically and provides complementary components to further aid your progression and employability. The course includes visits to large retailers and brands, guest speakers and client-led live projects.  In addition, you will undertake lots of practical activities including fashion photography, editorials, branding and marketing and exploration of selling environments – both physical and online platforms. You will become confident in industry software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator as well as exploring new and emerging social media-based marketing tools. Development of your maths and English skills will continue, which will support your progress within the programme and help in your future career, allowing you to make commercial decisions and apply technical terminology associated with Fashion. 

Typically, you will have a minimum of five GCSEs at grade 4 or above including English Language and Maths. Alternatively, you may have equivalent intermediate qualifications at Merit grade or above, along with GCSE grade 4 in English Language and Maths. Additionally, it would be beneficial (but not essential) that you have a GCSE in a creative subject and/or business studies. Importantly a university application will probably require five GCSEs graded C (4) or above, including both English Language and Maths GCSE at grade 4/C or above.

Candidates will be invited to a telephone interview as part one of the application process. Following this, you will be invited to a taster session at the start of summer to give you an insight into the working methods, environment, and subject context. 

The Level 3 Fashion Business and Retail will:

  • introduce you to the principles, skills, techniques and attributes required for employment within the fashion retail industry
  • encourage progression by assisting in the development of knowledge, understanding and skills that you will need to access higher education or to enter employment or an apprenticeship
  • encourage an evaluative approach to personal and professional development

During the programme, you will develop your knowledge in:

  • Principles of fashion business and retail
  • Communication for fashion business and retail
  • Contextual research
  • Fashion production and supply chain
  • Buying and merchandising
  • Visual merchandising
  • Marketing, promotion and branding
  • Sustainability and the future of fashion
  • Creative Suite including Photoshop, Illustrator and In-Design.

This course will be delivered on-site with city visits plotted in throughout the year. Additionally, regular visits to the local high street will form part of your classroom activities to visualise and research what is happening in the industry. 

A can-do attitude and the willingness to immerse yourself in all things Fashion Business will stand you in good stead for all sessions. Typical stationery will be required and at times your project work may require additional investment into outcomes (printing, materials etc).

You must successfully complete:

  • All eight mandatory units within Year 1 (Diploma) – the final unit of the year determines the Diploma achievement (Fail / Pass / Merit / Distinction)
  • All five mandatory units within Year 2 (Extended Diploma) – the final two units of the year determine the Extended Diploma achievement (Fail / Pass / Merit / Distinction)

Assessment will be carried out using a variety of methods. You are expected to produce a portfolio of evidence for each unit. This will vary dependent on the project pathway.  Assessment will include presentations, practical activities, discussions and assignments. It is important to note that we run a flexible programme of study and are eager to celebrate individuals and their preferred working methods and areas of interest. 


Students who successfully complete the Level 3 Fashion Retail and Business programme can progress to:

  • higher education (university foundation / honours degree courses)
  • an apprenticeship
  • employment on a training programme (varying pathways) within a fashion retail brand

For more information contact Derby College Group on 0800 0280289 or or follow the course Instagram account: @ual_fbr_derbycollege. 

Course Information for Employers

If you are an employer and would like to know more about the apprenticeships and professional training we deliver or how you can get involved in co-creating and co-delivering the curriculum, please contact us via email on, call us on 01332 387 421 or visit our employer pages here.

Career Information

This course could lead to one of these careers...

Clothing, Fashion and Accessories Designers


Clothing, Fashion and Accessories Designers

Visual Merchandisers and Related Occupations


Visual Merchandisers and Related Occupations

Estimators, Valuers and Assessors


Estimators, Valuers and Assessors

Waste Disposal and Environmental Services Managers


Waste Disposal and Environmental Services Managers

Sales and Retail Assistants


Sales and Retail Assistants

More Careers Information at:
QR Code

DCG Success Stories

Richard Auzins

Richard Auzins

Starting out in a career in retail with M&S

Although I’m working in logistics, I’m still involved with fashion and homewares every day. The Derby College course helped me get the job and having a qualification in retail merchandising has made me more confident in sharing my ideas at work. I’d like to move into visual merchandising one day but at the moment I enjoy what I do and M&S is a great business to work for.

Read More about Richard Auzins

online application form

Get Started...

Use our online application form to apply for this course.

Apply Now

Course Information Last Updated On: April 24, 2024 3:20 pm