Two of Britain’s jewellery industry leading associations have united in a bid to help the next generation of silversmiths up the ladder.
The Contemporary British Silversmiths and the Goldsmiths’ Centre have announced they will be working in partnership this month to launch an innovative skills training programme that will protect and promote excellence in British silversmithing skills.
The course forms part of both companies’ ambitions to preserve making skills for future generations and provide professional development opportunities at every key stage in a craftsperson’s career.
Chair of Contemporary British Silversmiths, Angela Cork, shares: “We are delighted to be the first skills training partner organisation of the Goldsmiths’ Centre. This represents a new way of working for both organisations and we both welcome enquiries from other institutions that are keen to be involved with training silversmiths.”
The programme will give professional silversmiths the opportunity to teach and pass on their skills on residential courses. The aim of the initiative will become self-fulfilling as students from the courses will teach on workshops further on in the programme.
Peter Taylor, director of the Goldsmiths’ Centre, adds: “The preservation of traditional skills is central to the Goldsmiths’ Centre’s education and training programme. Our ability to form meaningful partnerships with organisations such as Contemporary British Silversmiths is allowing for this to occur on an ever-increasing scale. To provide our support to a programme, which not only equips practicing craftspeople with additional skills but actively seeks to work with the Centre and enables individuals to share them, is a model we would like to see replicated.”
Conceived a year ago by silversmith and Contemporary British Silversmiths former chair, Rauni Higson, the skills training programme developed from a pilot course, focused on training offered by retired silversmith Tony Bedford.
Since stepping down as chair of Contemporary British Silversmiths, Higson has concentrated her time and resources to heading up the CBS Skills Training Programme subcommittee.
Higson says: “The CBS Skills Training Programme is about offering industry led quality training. Because it was developed by silversmiths for silversmiths, we will be providing the most effective learning routes in terms of structure, format, location and resources. I am honoured to be working closely with such talented individuals and having access to and sharing that great pool of knowledge and experience.”