The Goldsmiths’ Company’s annual graduate course ‘Getting Started’, which introduces jewellery and silversmithing graduates to business and employment opportunities within the industry, took place at Goldsmiths’ Hall recently.
Now in its 22nd year this highly popular week-long course was attended by 37 aspiring jewellers and silversmiths, all recent graduates from colleges across the UK.
The ‘Getting Started’ programme is designed to help recent graduates gain an insight into the industry and to provide them with a comprehensive overview of the opportunities and issues they are likely to experience early in their working careers.
To achieve this, a carefully thought-out series of illustrated talks and workshops were given by prominent and experienced speakers from within the industry. Since its inauguration this free and extremely focused course has proved a great success and has helped launch the careers of many recognised designers and craftspeople within the industry. The course takes place in the splendour of Goldsmiths’ Hall.
Who better to get advice from than highly successful, practising jewellers and silversmiths themselves? This year Jos Skeates, Jane Adam, David Marshall, Martyn Pugh and Stephen Webster all gave the delegates the benefit of their experience. Jos Skeates described the up and downs of life as a maker and retailer, Jane spoke on behalf of the self-employed jeweller, David Marshall explained what it is really like to run a business, Martyn Pugh gave valuable advice as to costing and pricing and effectively working out what one’s work is really worth and Stephen Webster ended the week on a high note giving a lively and entertaining resumé of his colourful career and how he came to be jeweller to the stars!
Other subjects covered during the week long course were life as a commercial designer, how and why to plan your business, how to deal with galleries, getting the most from exhibitions, sources of business funding, traditional and on-line retailing, where to find sources of business funding and how to prepare a winning CV as well as a PR strategy. Jason Holt discussed whether manufacturing was a viable career route and Vivienne Becker gave a fascinating illustrated talk on the jewellery world today, its trends, themes and inspirations.
This year’s Getting Started course also covered other issues not previously covered for example Vivien Johnston of Fifi Bijoux discussed the ethical side of the industry and Gillian Campbell and Mark Arn of Heard Creative in their talk: ‘You as a Brand’ got delegates thinking about the modern phenomenon of branding.
A vital part of today’s business culture, regardless of the industry, is networking. Hence prior to the evening reception at which 200 key players from the industry attended, Corinne Julius, journalist and broadcaster took the delegates back to basics and gave them tips on how to network with ease and confidence and thus get something out of the opportunities that were being handed to them on a plate!
Peter Taylor, Director Technology and Training, the Goldsmiths’ Company said: “Once again we were delighted at the positive feedback we received from delegates following this year’s programme. From my point of view what is noticeable is just how professional, focussed and realistic these individuals are. Hopefully all those who attended will have taken something away from this week’s talks and the associated events.”
Feedback comments included: “Getting Started is the most valuable programme available and has given us a real insight into the industry and the opportunity of meeting successful trend setters and influencers who are stimulating and passionate about UK jewellery” and “I feel like I came in as a clueless graduate and now feel like I have been given the information to take the steps to become a professional designer-maker.”