GUEST COLUMN: Michael Rawlinson, chief executive officer, NAJ

Michael Rawlinson, chief executive officer, National Association of Jewellers

Guest column by the chief executive officer of the National Association of Jewellers, Michael Rawlinson.

In a world where the pace of life appears to be getting faster and faster, the only thing that remains constant is the concept of change. If we like things the way they have always been, and want them to be the same forever, I’m sorry to break the news to you, but it just isn’t going to happen.

I’m pleased to say this is true for the NAJ. We are a new and transformed Association, building on the heritage and strengths of our two previous organisations but having a new agenda, focus and energy.

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Firstly, we are here to represent and serve the whole jewellery industry. We see there is a need for the trade to unite in order to win back market share from other sectors that want to entice the consumers disposable spend from their pockets. We want to support and provide the learning resources to the industry to ensure that everyone is equipped with the basic knowledge they require to be competent.

The JET Certificate is being overhauled, rewritten and expanded to make sure it is suitable for any and every part of the industry. The JET Diploma will follow and will be broken down into modules, allowing students for the first time to study the basic core modules relevant to everyone, and then choose specific areas for further study.

Business support through the JET Business Network is also being expanded so that we can cover the supply side and designer maker sector of our industry, alongside the successful retailer groups we already host. We want to ensure that our members are as professional in running their businesses as they are in their jewellery knowledge and skills.

We are also putting the finishing touches to our Made In Britain Mark scheme, which should be ready for an industry launch within the next two months. This new mark will allow us to fly the flag for British design and manufacturing both in the home market and internationally – something that will become increasingly important as we move closer to Brexit. The mark is going to provide an amazing platform from which we can speak directly to the public about the strength of ‘Made in Britain’ and raise awareness of the talent we have in this country.

We will have the opportunity to speak directly to the public through consumer media channels and reintroduce the excitement associated with buying a piece of jewellery, which has been made in Britain.

These are just a few new projects we are working on. We would love the industry to be part of the Association and benefit from the work we are doing.

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