How much is the industry investing in people?

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Jewellery businesses cannot thrive without staff training.

Investing in people is a phrase we’re all familiar with, but how much is the UK jewellery industry investing in its people?

The jewellery business is by nature a more highly trained retail sector due to the specialist knowledge needed to sell the products, but in tough times when businesses are looking to slimline costs training can fall by the wayside.

At a CMJ conference in October more than 10% of attendees said that they would spend nothing on training in the next year, and of those who will fork out for the majority said it would be at the lower end of the scale, £300 or less per staff member.

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For jewellers, a lack of staff training can be a frightening prospect. If a salesperson doesn’t understand diamonds how can they sell them to a customer confidently? And in a recession when consumers’ budgets are just as strained as businesses’, training is even more important, which is probably why we have noted a rise in training courses, mentoring, apprenticeships and community learning schemes.

But it’s not just new staff looking to build up their CVs, business leaders who have been in the industry for decades, often at the helms of their own businesses, are now looking for career development and advice, particularly in a market that is changing at break-neck speed. Broadening horizons through education, or just simply a chat with someone with a fresh perspective, can help a business to focus and refresh, and hopefully better equip itself for a challenging market.

A new perspective is something we like to invite at Professional Jeweller, and last month for the third consecutive year I handed the editorship of this magazine over to a guest editor from the industry. In previous years we’ve had designer Shaun Leane and retailers Grant Mitchell and Kyron Keogh of Rox take the helm and for the January 2013 issue we were delighted to announce that Jason Holt of Holts would be joining us to shape the magazine to his vision. Jason has been a leader in championing change in the industry over the past year, including leading a government review, and had some fascinating view points to bring.

 

This column has been adapted from an original that first appeared in the December 2012 issue of Professional Jeweller. To see a digital copy of this issue click here.

 

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