Harriet Kelsall apprentice wins World Skills gold

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Will Lander beat six other apprentices in final at Birmingham's NEC.

Jewellery designer Harriet Kelsall’s apprentice Will Lander has won the gold medal in the Fine Jewellery Making competition at the UK’s largest skills event, World Skills.

Held over three days at The Skills Show at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre from November 13 to 15, the World Skills contest attracted 588 apprentices in 64 different skills categories.

In the Fine Jewellery Making contest, Lander was tasked with making a sterling silver pendant based on a specific design brief, from scratch, in 15 hours. He was pitted against six other apprentices, each with their own work bench, equipment and materials.

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The judges awarded marks for accuracy, drawing, technical skills, soldering, surface finish and economic use of materials. Marks were deducted for incomplete elements and inaccurate dimensions.

23-year-old Lander, who is 18-months into a five year apprenticeship, commented: “The competition was extremely challenging – working under pressure to complete the piece to the highest standard possible, within set time parameters, in an unfamiliar environment, with thousands of people going through each day. It was a working environment like no other – I had to be completely focused , not distracted by the visitors.”

Harriet Kelsall commented: “Handmaking skills are at the heart of what we do and the skills Will has demonstrated in making this piece are all used within the work he does at the bench in our onsite workshops every day.

“We have always been passionate about passing on authentic traditional handcrafting skills to the next generation and so we are thrilled that this apprenticeship is proving that is happening within our workshop.”

The Skills Show, which acts as a careers event to inspire young people to explore further education, skills and apprenticeships, attracted around 75,000 visitors across three days.

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