Protecting the Consumer and Servicing
the Trade with Independence and Integrity

The JQDT led a positive meeting with regard to apprenticeships yesterday.  After three years of work by Peter Taylor of the Goldsmiths’ Company, Simon Rainer of  the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA)  and Michael Allchin of  The Birmingham Assay Office there is now a recognised apprenticeship scheme for the jewellery industry.   Holts Academy and the BJA are working with the National Skills Council to deliver these apprenticeship schemes throughout the UK and so far around 50 apprentices are in place. Birmingham City Council are keen to support this initiative in order to create employment and sustain the skill base in the Jewellery Quarter. Funding has been made available to employers to subsidise ten apprentices in the city, encouraging manufacturers to be involved in the scheme.  The apprenticeships will be administered by Holts but the “day release” learning which constitutes 20% of the time will be delivered by the School of Jewellery.  At the meeting Professor Jack Cunningham, Head of the School,  explained that this would include a basic module covering IT and numeracy as well as  more specialised modules exposing apprentices to  skills such as enamelling, stone setting and hand engraving. Familiarity with the new technology available at the Jewellery Industry Innovation Centre would also be included. The information, presented by Steve Farr of Birmingham City Council was well received by the key manufacturers who attended.  There is still time and scope for others to get involved but it is hoped to start the scheme in February or March so anyone else who is interested should make themselves known to the JQDT urgently.   The timescale is driven by Government funding of £2,000 per company being available as an incentive to businesses who take on their first apprentice, but only until March 2013. A fact sheet setting out the basic proposal and criteria for acceptance will be available and circulated in the near future. Any companies interested in taking on an apprentice in Spring 2013 should contact Keith Stanley, Operations Director of the JQDT.  E mail keith.stanley@jqdt.org.

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