When the British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) and National Association of Goldsmiths (NAG) signed a memorandum of understanding to form a new, single trade association for the UK jewellery industry, there was always going to be a lot of hard work that needed to be done behind the scenes to ensure a smooth integration.
But having successfully implemented the unification of the BJA and NAG – and fulfilling the wishes of a combined membership of more than 2,000 members in the process – Michael Rawlinson is able to reflect on a job well done and plan for a bright future.
“The bringing together of the two historic trade associations will allow the industry to unite in the common goal of building a stronger British jewellery industry, and helping all sectors to compete against other sectors such as luxury goods consumer electronics and holidays for the consumers discretionary spending,” he says.
The timing of the merger couldn’t have been better given what we now know about the financial markets in the wake of the EU referendum result.
The two associations have been fully integrated under The National Association of Jewellers banner for the best part of the year, providing the perfect platform to lead the industry as it enters a phase of uncertainty following the Brexit vote.
“Strong representation within the corridors of Westminster will be vital if we are to see negotiating positions emerge that benefit our industry in the future,” says Michael, who chose Parliament as the scene of his Hot 100 portrait because of the influence it’s likely to have on his working life in the coming few years.
“I did a lot of work here in the past in my previous job, and I am looking forward to reconnecting with MPs and parliamentary friends,” he adds.
Michael expects the NAJ to be able to deliver on a Made in Britain Mark and a strong industry Congress in 2017, while he is also passionate about attracting new blood to the industry. One of the things that gives him most satisfaction is seeing hundreds of JET diploma students receiving their awards at Goldsmiths’ Hall.
“There is so much talent in the hall, and these people represent the professionalism of our industry. I look forward to the event every year,” he says.