Last Monday evening, we were asked to be part of networking event, set up as part of the Getting Start Course run and hosted by the Goldsmiths Centre.
The Getting Started delegates are 30 of the country’s recent graduate jewellers and silversmiths who are all looking for additional support and advice on the business skills. Topics included tips on how to develop successful careers, pricing, building portfolios of work, PR, website design to social media. It is an intensive 5 day course that is absolutely free, delivered by the Goldsmiths’ Centre, funded by the Goldsmiths’ Company.
“To be eligible to attend the course, applicants will normally have graduated in the last 5 years from a certified UK jewellery, precious metal or associated course. They should be looking to or have already set themselves up in business.” said Helen Dobson from the Goldsmith Centre.
We arrived ready to chat about KickStart, IJL’s very own initiative helping emerging designers launch their careers with help and advice from the NAJ. It’s always nice to see a few familiar faces and it was great to catch up with IJL 2015 KickStarter, Mirka Janeckova. Former IJL Bright Young Gem and guest speaker, Tomasz Donocik seemed to attract quite a crowd, sharing his success story and answering questions from the eager graduates. IJL 2015’s Bright Young Gem Beau Han Xu, creator of the Splash collection, was also attending the course.
It was a lovely, informal setting and we couldn’t have been happier when surprisingly, the delegates approached us! The graduates were of all ages, all looking for help and advice and keen to learn more about business. One graduate even said “I love this industry because it’s not ageist, everyone has the opportunity to be part of it.”
What became apparent throughout the conversations is that graduating can be a daunting experience and they often leave their course with the necessary jewellery skills, but not always an understanding on how to run a business. It became more and more obvious that this course was absolutely vital to them and was an amazing opportunity, especially to hear from amazing guest speakers like Ivonna Poplanska, Tomasz Donocik and Fei Liu.
These are the designers of the future and it’s wonderful that we are educating and helping them succeed in the industry. Courses like this and initiatives like KickStart and Bright Young Gems are crucial to the future of the jewellery world, but really we could do with more.
“There are already some great initiatives out there, but with an average of 14,000 creative art and design graduates per year there definitely needs to be an increase in the number and types of initiatives available if any of these graduates are going to succeed.“ said Helen Dobson, the Goldsmiths Centre
Browsing the showcases, it was inspiring to see such a variety of pieces of display, so many materials were used and they were all unique and innovative in their own way. It was a lovely evening and we look forward to going next year!