An entry level individual who engages in on-the-job training to become a specialist in a craft form.
A job/period of training where you learn specialist craft skills directly from a master of that trade, physically practicing these skills as you learn.
These skills could be in a wide range of crafts, from the traditional (e.g. thatching roofs) to the contemporary (e.g. jewellery design).
Examples of craft forms are:
Conservation (saving/restoring a piece from damage)
Farriery (shoeing of horses and similar animals)
Horology (making clocks and watches)
Millinery (hat design)
Rural crafts (skills used in the agricultural countryside, such as hedge laying and thatching)
Toys and Instruments
Think of a craft apprenticeship like going to college or university. You are committing yourself over a period of years to learn specialist skills from a master craftsperson. You are investing in your future.
Be prepared for the challenge. It might be a demanding experience. You will be tested to make sure you are the best. “I’ve been on some disheartening jobs where you stand there in the cold and wet at 6:45am, asking myself why on earth would anyone want to do this, working for half the money that my friends get stacking shelves. However I know that I am setting out my foundations for a great future”.
(Curtis Chipperfield, historic building apprentice)
You are learning a trade for life. Working directly alongside a master craftsperson on a daily basis will allow you to constantly develop your skills.
Learning your trade within a functioning business will also expose you to how a company is run, you might learn extra skills (alongside the specialist skills needed for your craft) which could be incredibly useful in the future.
An apprenticeship is like going back to school/university, you are learning from a teacher/master of that trade. However, as opposed to going to school/university, your employer is paying you at least the national minimum apprenticeship wage whilst you learn.
93% of the craftspeople QEST has sponsored since 1990 are still in employment, which proves that there are many employment opportunities for craftspeople.
Some of QEST’s craftspeople have achieved national acclaim, awards and high profile commissions; working for brands such as Chanel and the Victoria & Albert Museum.
Some examples being:
This demonstrates you can build a very busy and exciting career for yourself by acquiring specialist craft skills.
A craft apprenticeship allows you to be creative. Many craftspeople say there is great satisfaction and fulfilment that comes from making something yourself, from start to finish; making a living by selling a product that you have invested your time, effort and creative abilities in.
There are many skills needed to create an excellent piece of craft; that is why craft apprenticeships typically last between 3-5 years, giving you enough time to learn these skills.
For example, if you wanted to be a shoe designer, here is an example of some of the skills you would need to make a pair of shoes:
You would be supported in every step of your apprenticeship, until you reached a level where your employer and you were happy for you to work more independently, with help as and when you required it.
All available apprenticeship jobs are listed under the “live apprenticeships” tab.
If you wish to apply to a job you must be enrolled with one of our charity partners (listed on the “charity partners” tab). They will provide you with the password needed to apply for the job.
The benefit of being enrolled with a charity partner is that:
The list of charities can be found under the “charity partners” tab.
Find the charity partner that is nearest to you geographically and contact them directly to discuss your application and their support.
To gain access to these job opportunities your charity must:
If you meet the above criteria and are interested in accessing these craft job opportunities please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Luxury made-to-measure footwear, John Lobb Ltd.
For the past century and a half the Lobb family have crafted some of the world’s finest footwear.
John Lobb Ltd. was a pilot company in QEST’s Apprenticeship Scheme, taking on two apprentices with the help of QEST funding.
“Quite simply companies have no choice but to invest in apprentices. You are preserving your company for the next generation.” You are investing in succession.
Learning a skilled craft takes many years. Apprentices learn by seeing and by doing. They inevitably make mistakes, and learn from them.
QEST John Lobb Apprentice, Parham Alizadeh started off as a complete novice. Within a year the company was already seeing a return on their investment as Parham was making mock-ups for customers. Parham hugely benefited from the first-hand nature of the apprenticeship, enabling him to hone his skills quickly and become an invaluable member of the team.
Bespoke Tailors, Anderson & Sheppard
John Hitchcock, retired Director of Anderson & Sheppard, is an enthusiastic advocate for apprentices, maybe because he once was one.
John started off as a complete beginner in the workshop at the age of 16. He painstakingly dedicated himself to his trade, and in 1983 was rewarded by his appointment as company Director.
Anderson & Sheppard purposefully choose to employ apprentices without any previous training to ensure the legacy of their bespoke “Anderson & Sheppard way”.
It is this investment in a steady stream of apprentices, coupled with their unfaltering loyalty, which has helped sustain the original elegance and the unique style of the company.
QEST has partnered with a select few charities across the UK to create a pool of suitable apprenticeship candidates, individuals who are 16-25 year olds, some of whom may come from disadvantaged backgrounds, but who are keen, reliable and committed long-term.
Each charity will provide support for both the apprentice and the company throughout the entirety of the apprenticeship (if you feel it appropriate).
All of the above features aim to reduce the risks of employment “drop-out rates” as far as possible. Proven by one of QEST’s charity partners, City Gateway, which has an impressive 95% retention rate for the apprentices they place.
These charity partners are listed under the “charity partners” tab.
Research has also proven that very slight salary increases throughout the apprenticeship can help keep an apprentice engaged, increasing retention rates. A slight salary increase every 6 months gives the apprentice a benchmark to work towards, an incentive to work hard.
With this support system put in place, and getting the whole company behind the apprenticeship, you are working together for the good of the apprentice, giving him/her every chance of success.
The apprenticeship should be a mutual fit. It is just as much the apprentice’s decision to work for you as it is your decision to employ them.
It is suggested that:
It is suggested that you sign an apprenticeship agreement with your apprentice. This is essentially a contract of employment.
Research has proven that this increases the success rates of an apprenticeship partnership as both groups are fully aware of what the apprenticeship involves and are both committing to a successful working relationship.
The apprenticeship agreement gives details of what you agree to do for the apprentice. This includes:
You can write your own apprentice agreement or download the government’s apprenticeship agreement template.
QEST offers a grant of up to £18,000 to help a company employ a craft-skill based apprentice at a living wage for three years.
Apprenticeship applications open in the summer, with decisions made in the autumn.
To be awarded the grant the company must:
The support of our funders makes a vital difference to our work, enabling us to ensure we can develop and thrive. We are unable to fund talented and aspiring craftspeople without charitable grants and donations. We would welcome the opportunity to talk to you further about how you can support QEST.
Please contact: email@example.com
QEST is grateful for the support with our apprenticeship programme from the below:
Allchurches Trust Limited
Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation
John Lyon’s Charity
Made in Britain
PF Charitable Trust
The Alborada Trust
The Blagrave Trust
The Cambridge Satchel Company
The Drapers’ Company
The Gosling Foundation
The Hedley Foundation
The Heritage Crafts Association
The Hobson Charity
The John Apthorp Charty
The Masons Company
The Pilgrim Trust
The Prince of Wales’s Charitable Foundation
The Radcliffe Trust
The Robertson Trust
The Worshipful Company of Broderers
The Worshipful Company of Cooks
The Worshipful Company of Pewterers