First UK Government scheme launched to get youth employment up.
Holts Academy of Jewellery has announced the launch of an apprenticeship programme in partnership with Coutts Bank, a scheme that has been backed by the British Jewellers’ Association and The Goldsmiths’ Company.
The programme is the first Government approved apprenticeship scheme for young jewellers in the UK, created to offer meaningful vocational training for young people at a time when youth unemployment is big on the agenda.
Lee Lucas, principal of Holts Academy of Jewellery said: “With more than one million young people currently out of work and over 60,000 more being added to this count each quarter, there has never been a better time for people to look seriously at meaningful vocational learning.
“This exciting first step in apprenticeships for the jewellery sector has already seen 16 young people start on the path to long- term employment and a legacy of skills that will ensure that they can earn a living for the rest of their lives.”
The programme is free to eligible students aged between 16 and 23, who will start earning a wage from the first day of their apprenticeship. The scheme is also free of charge to the employers taking on the apprentices.
The Coutts Sponsorship fund will help Holts Academy support employers in taking on trainees. The course starts at Holts Academy with a year-long placement thereafter with one of the collaborating employers from across London and the UK.
The apprentices will learn several skills through the course, including enamelling, hand-engraving, setting and traditional jewellery design, as well as contemporary manufacturing techniques.
The scheme also covers safety in the workshop and using machinery and finishing jewellery using techniques such as polishing.
Michael Morley, chief executive of Coutts & Co. described the scheme as a “wonderful starting block” for young people wishing to pursue a career in jewellery.
“The scheme sees the students through a combination of teaching and on-the-job working, matches them with employers along with way and concludes with permanent and full-time employment at the end of the year.
“Throughout the year, Coutts will be working on a series of fashion-related events that will help raise money to sponsor these apprenticeships.”
Lucas has described the jewellery industry as being “at a crossroads for many years”, and says that training is essential to ensure that the UK industry has enough skill and talent to last it into the future.
“We are so proud of this partnership between Coutts and Holts Academy, which will go to support the new generation of apprentices joining this fantastic industry and our ground-breaking apprenticeship programme,” said Lucas.
Camden Council, The Goldsmiths’ Company and the British Jewellers’ Association have been named supporters of the scheme. They will monitor the apprentices with a view to identifying how to go national, meaning employers and young people across the UK will be able to benefit.
Jewellers and manufacturers have been encouraged to get in touch to begin work with an apprentice.
Coutts will host an exclusive shopping event to kick start the partnership later today, with London designer retailer Matches.