How Jewellery Training Solutions came to be
Hello fellow jewellers and artisans, Thank you for taking some time to check out my best creation. Jewellery Training Solutions (JTS)
Please allow me to tell you how the journey began.
I loved art and crafts more than any subject at school.
The margins in my maths books where you were supposed to work out the sums was always full of intricate doodles.
I wish I kept them, I’m sure they would have made nice jewellery designs.
I knew that my career path had to involve something creative.
My Dad was a watchmaker. One day he showed me a jewellery design that he commissioned for one of his customers. I was fascinated. That was it, I was hooked. I was fourteen and I knew I wanted to be a jeweller, and so I started to work hard at school.
I managed to get an interview at the School of Jewellery & Silversmithing in the Birmingham jewellery quarter. I had to make a good impression, it was the only college in the UK where you could study and qualify as a trade jeweller. Back then the qualification title was ‘Diamond Mounter’ There were only 16 places per year, and when I was interviewed 240 kids were also applying. I was only 16, the youngest applicant, so I was over the moon when I received the letter telling me that I made it. I would have kept applying each year until they took me if I did miss out.
I obviously did not know at the time, but that is where the JTS story started. The three years of intense specialized training made me a highly sought after jeweller in Manchester and Australia.
My career as a jewellery maker & designer has been so rewarding. I could not imagine any other job that offers the same challenges delights and opportunities. That is until I became a teacher. In 2007 I was offered the position of Jewellery Trade Lecturer at Central Institute of Technology in Perth Western Australia.
I took over a neglected program that had no relevance in our industry and the apprentices were not at all engaged. I wiped the slate clean and totally rewrote the program based on the unique training I received, with some additional new trends and techniques that had since evolved in the trade. It was hard work, but the rewards were immediate. Apprentices attended all of my classes and started to excel. Employers were also delighted now that real and useful skills were being taught.
I implemented a relevant and disciplined training program and developed innovative teaching techniques and projects which in turn re-energized the apprenticeship program in WA. My method of teaching really worked.
During my time as a teacher the Jewellery Association of Australia elected me as WA State Director. I used this position to lobby the Government for apprenticeship support. The WA Government recognized and awarded me for my innovative teaching and course developments. I was also recognized and awarded for my training achievements by Worldskills Australia. I developed a pre-apprentice course to help students find jobs. But my proudest moments by far were sharing the joys of my student successes.
Sadly, over the years the industry has shrunk and changed due to a few factors such as; cheap imports, CAD/CAM and lack of Government support. This means that apprentice positions have declined to critical numbers. So much so that in my State the trade teaching position can no longer be supported. I retired from teaching in 2019.
Strangely, although there are few jobs in the industry there is still plenty of work. Good jewellers are snowed under. I still believe that there is a positive future for innovative jewellers with high level comprehensive skills, especially stone setting skills.
JTS Reaching Out
JTS was started out of necessity in 2014. The first series of videos were developed to assist apprentices and keep them on track with their training. The first videos were simple subtitled picture stories. Looking back, they lack detail, which was okay as I was on hand to fill the gaps.
The college I worked at also ran a jewellery design course. Students were taught basic making skills, but they were intrigued with the skills that the apprentices were being taught. They wanted the same.
I recognized the wider market and developed more sophisticated detailed videos that did not rely on personal teacher support. The projects were more exciting and relevant for todays market.
I noticed that although there were online jewellery courses available, it was evident that they were not training courses with a training plan that had real outcomes. There was also nothing much available online in the way of upskilling or stone setting courses for professional jewellers.
That is the JTS point of difference. As well as the outstanding quality of the videos of course.
I mentioned earlier that I retired from teaching. Well, I am far from retired. I am busier than ever. All my working time is now devoted to JTS. You may have already found out that this is an addictive trade, where you never stop learning. So, there are lots more projects planned.
I also combine my two passions (not counting my family) Travel and teaching. I have spread my wings since leaving my teaching job. I have been invited to teach interstate and overseas. I have more classes planned in the future.
Well I hope you enjoy the JTS experience and if you haven’t already discovered the joy of making jewellery, make a start today. I look forward to teaching you the exciting craft of making jewellery.