Dear Teresa I read your post with a great deal of interest. Your
comment about the differences in training philosophies is
central to current research I am doing.
The Australian jewellery industry has, until recently, been
served by traditional apprentice-based vocational education.
However, with the increasingly concerted attempts to destroy the
apprenticeship system by the economic rationalist policies of
education department bureaucrats, there is an increasing reliance
being forced on the industry to draw its replacement personnel
from university trained graduates rather than industry and
technically educated apprentices.
There are some wonderfully talented and enthusiastic graduates
coming from the Fine Arts departments of Australian universities
who have never been shown the most basic technical skills. Their
employers are tearing their hair out with frustration as they
have to retrain these expensive employees from scratch. And not
only retrain, but re-educate them into the realities of
With a foot in both worlds of academia and industry (a late
blooming academic with two contemporary degrees, a B.A. and B.Ed.
in Adult Vocational Education and forty three years as a
manufacturing jeweller with twenty years in my own business), I
am involved in a research project which will hopefully bring some
sanity back into industry training.
Many Orchid members are responding generously to my request for
on the type of training that got them started as
jewellers. So much so that I am reformulating my questions to
cover the range of being offered. May I put them to
you too, Teresa? I will be in touch as soon as they are cogently
formulated. Best wishes, Rex Steele Merten