Why training young jewellers isn’t just about being in a classroom
Part 2 of 5
By Andrea Wenckebach
These days, many students do not go on to work in jewellery stores or in manufacturing after graduating. Instead, they start their own companies, making custom pieces for their customers and working the craft show circuit. When their career path is centred on creating one-of-a-kind pieces, students place less emphasis on courses that focus on jewellery repair. At the same time, repair skills are very important for the average family-owned jewellery store, which tends to hire graduates from jewellery programs so they can have a goldsmith onsite. “I want someone who can sit at the bench and do the work,” states Adam LeBoeuf, owner of Bill LeBoeuf Jewellers in Barrie, Ont. While LeBoeuf is a GIA-certified gemmologist, he has limited bench skills and is not in a position to train someone to do repairs.
“I’m not a teacher and I don’t have time to do it,” he laments. That leaves employers with employees who have many and varied bench skills, but not necessarily an abundance of advanced jewellery repair experience.
Colin Nash, owner of Nash Jewellers in London, Ont., understands the difficulties of providing students with relevant skills and how they meet the industry’s needs. “The students I hired do high-quality work,” he explains. “However, they both had previous experience in another shop, working under someone before coming here and that made a difference.”
Although he took an intensive three-month course in bench repair, Nash says that when he got back into the shop—and into a real-life environment—he didn’t feel fully prepared for the work asked of him. “Even after graduating, students still need a guide for a couple of years.”
More to come of this story in Part 3.
Read the full article: Whose job is it anyway?