Many industries are currently struggling to find enough skilled labour. Jewellery in the UK is no exception. We seem to be at a point where far more people are retiring from the bench than coming to it. More and more independent jewellers are disappearing and very few jewellery retailers now have in-house manufacturing or repair skills.  

There are many reasons for this sad state of affairs. Over the past few decades jewellery has become increasingly volumised, with more and more production being almost entirely machine made and finished. A great deal of production and manufacturing has been outsourced to distant shores. 

We have created a vicious cycle in our industry – fewer skilled jewellers and goldsmiths at the bench creates fewer opportunities for apprentices, which leads to fewer journeymen and, ultimately, a dearth of masters to teach the next generation. Whilst there are still some jewellery courses and colleges, quality and output is mixed at best, especially from a production perspective. 

This has to be one of the foremost challenges facing the industry over the long-term in the UK today. It will be a great shame if we fail to reverse this trend as we are an industry which has traditionally been a vibrant, high skill part of manufacturing in the UK. 

It is also a huge challenge for us as a business, doubly so as our location in deepest, darkest Mid Wales presents an additional challenge and obstacle in attracting and keeping talent and skills. We also use techniques developed and refined in-house and need talented apprentices with good basic skills whom we can continue to train. 

The solution for us perhaps is an official, specialist, Welsh Jewellery College, a centre of excellence for all aspects of jewellery making: silver and gold smithing, setting and other jewellery processes, from casting to polishing to model making and more. 

 Located in Tregaron of course!