Goldsmiths’ Company Apprentices scooped gold, silver and bronze in the category of Fine Jewellery Making at the Skills Show in Birmingham’s NEC last week (19-21 Nov).

The Skills Show, now in its fourth year, attracts over 75,000 visitors with over 500 apprentices competing in 64 different skills categories.

Ian Read Setting Ltd under supervision Nathaniel Groves’ apprentice 20 year-old Alex Wood won gold, Dominic Walmsley Jewellery’s apprentice 21 year-old Ben Kerridge scooped silver and Andrew Buckingham’s apprentice 20 year-old Abigail Buckingham took bronze.


Competing against other young talent, the Goldsmiths’ apprentices were given the task of creating a pendant in the shape of an anchor, transferring a 2D design into a 3D piece, over just 15 hours. Wood, Kerridge and Buckingham were tested in a temporary workshop environment on their abilities to saw and piece out, solder, make specific dimensions, surface finish and complete on time in an impressive display of skill and maturity.

Wood completed the Foundation Programme at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in 2015 learning core skills in jewellery, silversmithing and allied trades from Master craftspeople. He has been working since as a Goldsmiths’ Company Apprentice.

Nathaniel Groves says: “Alex has been with us at Ian Read Setting Ltd for [x] months as a Diamond Mounter Apprentice. We are very impressed by his achievement of winning gold at UK Skills. He showed a high level of determination and composure throughout the competition. This skill set he also demonstrates on a daily basis in our real life workshop as he prepares for this tough competition.”

Over the next year, the young people selected, who are age eligible to be possible international competitors, will continue to receive strong support from the Goldsmiths’ Centre and their employers.

These include gold medal winner Alex Wood, RTFJ’s Apprentice 19 year-old Hugo Johnson, E Wolfe & Co’s Apprentice 20 year-old Chloe Lightfoot, who was Highly Commended in the Skills Show competition, EC One’s Apprentice 20 year-old Sharon Alvarez and C. A. Treble’s Apprentice 20 year-old Eleanor Woolacott.

The above will receive both additional technical skills training and guidance on how to approach specific pressures of competition with the chance to represent the UK on an international platform at World Skills Brazil in Abu Dhabi from in 2017.