Nationwide Jewellers has introduced a financial assistance scheme for apprentices employed by its members.
Under the scheme, Nationwide will subsidise the cost of education fees and/or tools with $400 or a House of Jewellery voucher valued at $500.
“We strongly believe that it is important for the industry to encourage and support young people seeking to grow their skills and experience” said Nationwide director Barry Jackson (pictured).
“We used to give $6000 in scholarships each year to the jewellery degree course. However we felt that the course veered away from the original objectives, with a disproportionate emphasis being placed on design concepts, rather than practical jewellery manufacturing.”
He said the buying group was concerned at the low number of young apprentices currently employed in the jewellery industry.
“We may well be heading towards a significant shortage of qualified jewellers in the years ahead.”
Under the new financial assistance scheme Nationwide will provide assistance to the employer (not the apprentice) as “it is now law that the employee pays all the fees incurred by an apprentice”.
The financial assistance is primarily aimed at jewellery and watchmaking apprenticeships but Nationwide is also prepared to consider apprenticeships in “related but different” trades.