Ehioze became interested in hat-making at college and has reignited that passion by working for the Panama Hat Company in Luton part-time for two years. Established 35 years ago, the business offers the largest range of quality Panama hats in the UK. They also supported Ehioze to complete a Level 3 Diploma at Fashion Enter College in Haringey, to gain a general foundation in textiles.
With support from QEST, the Panama Hat Company will offer Ehioze a two-year apprenticeship, during which he will be able to learn hat-making skills including choosing fabrics, choosing suitable metal hat blocks, designing new hat styles, blocking hats using two methods (hydraulic and French pressing), cutting hats, edge binding, wiring, padding and trimming by hand and by machine. He will also gain valuable business skills such as managing sales and stock and administrative duties, and grow his confidence talking with customers.
Ehioze hopes to be able to make quality Panama hats from start to finish and sees himself working at the Panama Hat Company for a long time. Eventually he would like to create his own hat designs, working with felts and other materials too, and hopes to set up a side-line business of his own.