KO to Trade Training in OZ

Hi to all the Aussies on Orchid. Here’s some bad news for the
New South Welshjewellers who have apprentices in training or
might be considering it.

Jewellery Trade Certificate Course Loses Independence.

The Jewellery Trade Course in NSW has never been as successful
in its 85 years of existence as it is right now. The course
teaches a broad-based curriculum which effectively supports the
jewellery industry’s need for well-trained apprentices. Jewellery
Trade students have the best employment prospects of all
graduates from their TAFE college, the Enmore Design Centre. The
Jewellery Trade Course meets all the criteria for successful
vocational training outcomes. The Jewellery Trade Course is the
only TAFE course training apprentices in NSW and until now, it
and its students have enjoyed a level of industry support that is
a reflection of its success as a trainer.

Despite all these proofs of success, bureaucrats in TAFE are at
this very moment planning to destroy all that this course has
represented to the jewellery industry since it was first
inaugurated in 1915. They are doing this without consulting the
jewellery industry in general, or you, the individual employer
who has a vital interest in the proper training of your
apprentices and trainees.

In a surprise announcement on Thursday 10th June, without any
prior discussion or consultation, the teaching staff were ordered
to comply with a directive issued by a TAFE faculty director, Ms
Sue Hanley, that the Jewellery Trades Course will be subsumed
into a section of Jewellery Design.

Further, Ms Hanley has abolished the position of Head Teacher,
Jewellery Trades. At one stroke, Ms Hanley has destroyed the
authority of Jewellery Trades to determine its own curriculum and
who it employs as teachers for its apprentices and trainees. All
these decisions will now be made by bureaucrats such as Ms

This is a disastrous management decision which is diametrically
opposed to all that TAFE, as a tax-payer funded provider of
industry-led vocational training, is supposed to represent.
Following quickly on this decision we may see these consequences:
Jewellery trade apprentices and employees will be denied the
highest standards of existing training in NSW by the gradual
destruction of the very means and existence of such training.
There will no longer be an organised and consistent range of
jewellery subjects being taught by highly skilled jewellers who
are both industry experienced and trained. There will no longer be
a trade school authority for Jewellery Trade Certification, or an
agreed standard to which all apprentices are trained. At present,
teaching is being led by internationally and nationally renowned
jewellers whose inititiatives have made NSW jewellery trade
training a model to be emulated in other states and overseas.
This is all being done on a bureaucrat’s whim without discussion
with employers of apprentices or consultation with the real-world
jewellery manufacturers.

Together, we may be able to overturn this terrible decision.
Kind regards,
Rex Steele Merten

Rex, please put Sue Hanley’s email address up on Orchid. Check
first to see if there is a more neutral address that wouldn’t
mail bomb her and irritate her first though.

Let me know where to write a letter. You have 2500 orchidians
who can write letters. If you ask Peter Rowe to cross post to
rec.crafts.jewlery he will.

best luck,


Charles Lewton-Brain
Box 1624, Ste M, Calgary, Alberta, T2P 2L7, Canada

Sounds like a bit of drama for you people south of the border
Rod. What role does the state ITAB play? Up here in Queensland we
have a very good working relationship with our TAFE provider, and
in conjunction Trade representatives and the MERS/ITAB, several
new training options are being explored. By the end of last year
we had collectively designed the new Competency Standard Units.
This new course will replace the training outcomes of the
previous jewellery course with actual competencies. The MERS/ITAB
is the primary source of to the government on
jewellery/watch training issues, and has given us the means,
motovation and opportunity to initiate change in favour of the
Trade sectors. Southbank Institute of TAFE has been very
supportive over the 2 - 3 years it took us, and is now assisting
with the development of a range of short courses for Post Trade and
Professional Development Programmes.

Dear Charles L B, Thank you for your encouraging post. Having
been our guest at the Design Centre, you know what a great set of
workshops we have for both fine arts-oriented training and the
more practical trade training for our apprentices.

The apprentices still talk about your fold-forming
demonstrations and you will be doubly delighted to know that the
apprentice who took out the top award for over-all performance
during the three years of the trade course for 1998 was Grace
Zhao. Her master-work was a stunning brooch pendant which
combined elements of your fold-forming techniques, kum boo, and
enamel in silver and fine gold. You would have been proud of

I suspect that, like everything else these days, the real motive
behind this attempt to dismantle a successful and viable course
is to secure still more cutbacks and financial savings by
so-called rationalisation. It is clear that Ms Hanley has not
thought through all the ramifications of her decision - if she
has thought at all.

For a start the Jewellery Trade course is the only accredited
course of its kind in NSW. Kill it off and you have hundreds of
furious jewellers and lots of disadvantaged apprentices.

What I can’t get over, is the way it’s being done. No
consultation with industry or teachers. Just a directive couched
in “do it - or else” terms. No consideration for the issues of a
national curriculum. No consideration for the fact that the
Jewellery Trade Course in Sydney, Australia, has never been as
successful in its 85 year history as it is right now.

Charles, I came into teaching to give something back to the
industry. I dropped a lot of money to teach, because I believed
that knowledge was more valuable. Besides my forty three years of
industry experience and my international awards, I have two
degrees and will be starting a Masters in education next
semester. I did not become a teacher in Jewellery Trades to
preside over the demise of trade training or any lessening of
the standards we have built. We are prepared to fight hard, and
your moral support is gratefully received.

If anyone out there wishes to write, here is a list of some of
the people who would be influenced by your opinion. (TAFE is an
acronym for Technical And Further Education)

Mr. John Aquilina, Mr. Ken Boston,
Minister for Education Director of Education.
GPO Box 33, GPO Box 33,
Sydney 2001 Sydney. 2001
Australia Australia

Mr. Bob Puffett, Ms Marie Persson,
Director of TAFE, NSW. Director, S.I.T.
GPO Box 33 Building A,
Sydney 2001 Maryann Street
Australia Ultimo. 2007

Ms Sue Hanley,
Director, Business Studies,
Building G,
Sydney Institute of Technology
Maryann Street,
Ultimo. 2007

Some international letters supporting the notion of “hands off
of the independent Jewellery Trades Course” would be wonderful.
Thanks, mate, Rex Merten

Rex, It might be more conducive to write up an actual note that
we could all print out and send off. Those wanting to elaborate
could still do so and it might encourage more to join in.

Dear Susan Sarantos, If people would like to send the following,
I’d be grateful. It could be sent to the following VIPs. It would
be nice to have their email addresses but I don’t know these. I
would like to especially thank Dr. Hanuman for allowing me to use
such an important forum for this appeal.

Mr. John Aquilina,                                                       
Minister for Education                                                  
GPO Box 33,                                      
Sydney 2001                                                                

Mr Ken Boston.
Director of Education
GPO Box 33
Sydney 2001

Mr. Bob Puffett, 
Director of TAFE, NSW.                                               
GPO Box 33                                                             
Sydney 2001                                                               

Ms Marie Persson,
Director, Sydney Institute of Technology
Building A,
Maryann Street,
Ultimo, 2007

Dear …

I am dismayed that TAFE intends to dismantle the only fully
accredited Jewellery Trade Course in NSW, Australia. This course
has served the jewellery industry for 85 years and has grown from
strength to strength through its close ties to, and support from,
generations of professional working jewellers.

The Jewellery Trade Course is held in high regard by the
jewellery industry who have supplied its teachers, its curriculum
and its standards. The decision to downgrade this viable and
highly successful course reflects badly on the managerial ability
of the decision-makers and their ignorance of real-world
jewellery industry practice.

The Jewellery Trade Course not only has one of the highest
job-retention rates among its graduates, but also provides the
industry with the most capable and talented personnel. Jewellery
Trade graduates won both the regional and national Workskills
Gold Medals this year. The standard of the graduates and respect
of the industry has never been stronger. The course is strong and
emminently viable. Its teachers have been chosen from the best in
the industry. One has four Diamonds International Awards - more
than any other Australian jeweller.

What could possibly motivate those in TAFE who want to destroy
this? Is the course and its successes a reproach to their own
lack of ability? There is no logic in this capricious decision,
as even the most cursory consultation with the jewellery industry
would have revealed. In fact, the timing of this directive shows
that no effort was made to discuss this with industry leaders.

This is a decision that must be reversed and the independent
status quo of the Jewellery Trades Course restored. Nothing less
will be accepted by the jewellery industry.

Yours faithfully…