As President of the JAA and in my other capacities within the jewellery trade, I feel that it is important for me to pause for a moment and reflect on the future of our industry. In particular, I think about the young minds cultivating their skills and talents either as students or apprentices at benches in educational institutions or businesses around the country.
Although many trade members have found success in the jewellery industry later in life, the value of starting out young cannot be dismissed. Attracting the younger generation to the industry can be difficult due to the multitude of career opportunities available to young people now that weren’t there a few decades ago. However, our industry offers many rewarding career paths and the discourse surrounding young people entering the industry needs to change to one of optimism instead of the uncertainty that some voices proclaim.
One of the ways that I encourage young industry members to get started is to join the JAA Committees, Councils, and various volunteer positions available in the trade. This gives a budding jeweller invaluable opportunities to expand their network, seek mentorship, and learn the skills and business acumen not often taught at TAFE’s and colleges. In addition to what a young person can gain from joining such organisations is what they can give back to the industry by offering a fresh approach to current issues. This allows young people to have a hand in making the changes that they will see in the future once they have established their careers. I also urge young women to become involved with such organisations. Most of the jewellery sold by retailers is worn by women, so it is important to encourage more young women to become involved in the decision making processes that will shape the future landscape of the Australian jewellery industry.
Of great news to young industry members this year is the opportunity for a student or apprentice who are entering the 2017 JAA Australasian Jewellery Awards to receive $10,000 to be invested in their ongoing education and career development. This amount could go towards additional training in an area of their choice, as means to achieve work placement at business they admire, or other opportunities which will be discussed between the recipient and the JAA. I urge the wider industry to keep an eye out for the young person who receives this opportunity as they are sure to make waves further on in their career.
Young job seekers can post their resumes on the JAA website for potential employers to view in several categories relating their fields of interest and skills. In addition, the JAA Head Office staff are always happy to take enquires from students and apprentices seeking guidance and advice on topics ranging from how to enroll in TAFE, University Courses, how to become an apprentice and what jobs are available in the industry at that moment. Students and Apprentices can also become a member of JAA at no charge and all official JAA communications.
Our industry needs young minds to keep it dynamic and exciting for years to come. I see the raw talent coming out of TAFES, Universities, and workshops and marvel at how bright the future of the industry is when we support our budding successors.
JAA President - Selwyn Brandt