NAJ News

NAJ at Worldskills UK 2019

04 Feb 2020

We returned to Worldskills UK in November to promote our growing industry and hunt for the next generation of jewellers.

From 23rd-25th November 2019 the NAJ exhibited within the Fine Jewellery Making section of the WorldSkills UK careers fair, along with help and practical demonstrations from Hockley Mint, Gem-A, the British Horological Institute (BHI) and Cooksongold.

The stand was visited by a record-breaking number of students, with the alluring presence of the gemstone lucky dip drawing in the masses. The gemstones, generously provided GF Williams, were to be used in the NAJ Jewellery Design Competition – to design a unique piece of jewellery around the gemstone picked out of the lucky dip. The winning design would then be made into the real piece by CW Sellors and presented to the winner at their workshop in Ashbourne; with over double the amount of entries from the previous year, the decision was not an easy one to make. The judges were thoroughly impressed by the creativity shown in both the designs and the thought process behind them. The winner, selected just before Christmas, is 14-year old Niav Steaton who presented a design for a pendant based around a lotus flower… inspired by the time she spent in India.

Expert gemmologists Lily Faber and Sam Lloyd from Gem-A were on hand to identify the chosen gemstones and explain the science behind them; demonstrations of florescence were particularly popular as students were wowed upon seeing how blue synthetic spinel glowed red under the UV light. Gem-A CEO Alan Hart said: 

“World Skills UK is a fantastic opportunity to engage young people in the science of gemstones. Through on-site demonstrations we can add colour and vibrancy to often complicated topics and capture the imagination of a new generation of gemmologists, geologists and scientists. Gem-A is proud to be an active participant in this long-running event in collaboration with our peers at the NAJ. Together, we can highlight many interconnected career paths and reveal opportunities that blend a number of related disciplines.”

The practical demonstrations on stand were also a great pull for students, with skilled diamond mounter Stephen Redshaw from Hockley Mint showcasing the art of making jewellery; horology student and BHI prize winner Jack Elam demonstrating the intricate work of a watchmaker and Andy Marriot from Birmingham School of Jewellery presenting wax carving. Gary Wroe, director of Hockley Mint commented:

“Hockley Mint is proud to be part of the NAJ offering at the World Skills show. The show highlights the skills that we have within the UK – everyone demonstrating or taking part in competition with a passion! With thousands of attendees from around the country the NAJ is ensuring our industry is represented for the future."

Worldskills UK was a great success and really showcased the vast pool of craftsmanship, expertise and knowledge in the jewellery industry. Marie Garnett, NAJ head of education said:

“The 2,000 plus students that visited our stand were engaged and enthused and I’m sure went away with a much better idea of what the jewellery industry could offer them in terms of a career.”