Students are work ready with new jewellery qualifications

SQA and the British Academy of Jewellery (BAJ) have developed new training courses which are giving students the skills they need to thrive in this competitive industry.

BAJ are located in Birmingham and in London’s Hatton Garden, the traditional centre of the jewellery industry in the UK.

The partnership, which combined BAJ’s knowledge of the sector with SQA’s robust quality assurance processes, resulted in a four year Jewellery Manufacturing and Design Diploma Programme.

The Diploma begins at Level 3 on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF), providing students with a solid foundation in the technical and creative skills required to become a jeweller.

Students then have the opportunity, over the course of three years, to work towards Levels 4, 5 and 6.

This sees students gain advanced jewellery manufacturing skills, as well as expertise in Computer Aided Design (CAD), which harnesses the latest technology.

A key requirement when developing the Diploma was that students should not only gain these technical skills, but they should also be equipped with broader skills to help them achieve their future goals.

Students are then provided with the skills they need to market themselves and their products. This includes how to take professional photos, create a website, and how to use social media effectively.

Sofie Boons, Head of the British Academy of Jewellery, says: “We’ve focused on making sure those technical skills are still there but we’re also really interested in making sure that graduates are able to take part in this new jewellery industry, which also requires digital skills, to be business savvy and to know how to market products.

“Just knowing the technical skills is now not enough to get a career. So that’s what our collaboration with SQA was all about – to build new programmes which enable students to succeed in this new industry.”

Chin Yu Kwan, a Jewellery Manufacturing and Design Diploma student, says that he has enjoyed gaining these additional skills, adding: “The lecturers have been able to give a wonderful insight on how I should present myself and how to stay with the trend – which is really important in this industry. And learning how to be original, not to just copy, but to build something completely new.”

The Levels 3 and 4 were launched this year, with Levels 5 and 6 becoming available over the next two years.

Anne Boyd, Qualifications Manager at SQA, says the Diploma offers students a new pathway into the industry, saying: “By the time we put the level 6 in place, what we’ll have is a progressive framework of qualifications, which will take them from absolute beginner to complete professional, and that’s really exciting.”