Thirteen students from the British Academy of Jewellery (BAJ) attended site visits to National Association of Jewellers (NAJ) members Betts Metals and CW Sellors last month as part of their educational training.
Betts Metals and CW Sellors provided jewellery students, BAJ tutors and NAJ staff members with a tour of their facilities to expand their knowledge of real-world jewellery manufacturing.
Duncan Marshall from Betts Metals demonstrated how to refine silver from old X-ray films and produce 100% pure gold grain in the furnace, while Ed, Abi and Paul from CW Sellors showed how to cut, polish and mount blue john and jet.
Students were also lucky enough to watch Jules working on a solid silver JCB commissioned by JCB for their golf club trophy cabinet. Finally, the students were given a tour of CW Sellors’ impressive development at their Carsington site.
The students were inspired by the knowledge and talents of the businesses and artisans they met at Betts Metals and CW Sellors, which helped them understand more fully the advanced technical jewellery-making skills they had learned throughout their study.
Of the 13 students, some are enrolled in the BAJ Apprenticeship Programme’s Level 3 Jewellery Silversmithing and Allied Trades Standard, while others are enrolled in the L3 Diploma in Jewellery Design and Manufacturing to pursue a career in goldsmithing or jewellery manufacturing.
Last year, the NAJ was approved as an end-point assessment organisation for apprenticeships, opening up more specialist pathways to recruit and attract people into the trade.
Miranda Sharpe, BAJ Apprenticeship Coordinator and Birmingham Centre Lead said,
“Opportunities to engage our students with the jewellery trade are invaluable; when visiting the trade, knowledge is complemented and deepened, and students can see stages of production and materials that can’t practically be shown in the college setting.
“These experiences enable our students and the businesses to make connections, to put into context the skills and processes being taught and connect future employees and employers.”
Many of the students were exposed to the jewellery manufacturing industry for the first time, but Betts Metals and CW Sellors, precious metal, and jewellery experts, gave a warm welcome and expressed a keen interest in educating the curious visitors.
Marie Garnett, Head of NAJ Education, commented, “It was amazing for the students to have such an opportunity to go into these factories and see what they are learning about on a big scale! Their excitement and interest were infectious, as was the passion and pride of the wonderful staff that showed us around.”