0 Apprenticeships | 17 Companies

Becoming a craft apprentice?

What is a craft apprentice?

An entry level individual who engages in on-the-job training to become a specialist in a craft form.

What is a craft apprenticeship?

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:
Book binding
Conceptual art
Conservation (saving/restoring a piece from damage)
Culinary art
Farriery (shoeing of horses and similar animals)
Horology (making clocks and watches)
Leather working
Metal work
Millinery (hat design)
Rural crafts (skills used in the agricultural countryside, such as hedge laying and thatching)
Stone working
Toys and Instruments

A craft apprenticeship isn't just a job, it's a career.

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)

Why should I become a craft apprentice?

1. It’s a good alternative to going to University.

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.

2. You are being paid to learn.

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.

3. Job availability – there is a demand for craft skills.

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:

  • Wayne Meeten (double Grand Prize Winning Designer Goldsmith- Silversmith)
  • Jacqueline Cullen (featured in Vogue)
  • Zoe Harding (worked with Swarovski and Vivienne Westwood)
  • Jack Row (exhibited at Garrard & Co)
  • Kerry Lemon (collaborated with Harrods)
  • Camilla Skovgaard (wholesales accounts in 33 countries, among which are Saks Fifth Avenue US, Harvey Nichols London, Symphony Dubai, Joyce Hong Kong and Net-a-Porter.com)
  • Julain Stair (exhibited at the Victoria & Albert Museum, American Museum of Art & Design and Hong Kong Museum of Art)
  • Melissa White (won “Best Printed Fabric” at the Homes & Gardens Fabric Awards 2014)

This demonstrates you can build a very busy and exciting career for yourself by acquiring specialist craft skills.

4. Employment that is both creative and physical.

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.

Why should I commit to a potentially three year-long apprenticeship?

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:

  1. Make a “last” (a mould of the customers foot to shape the shoe around)
  2. Cut a shoe pattern for the many parts of the shoe e.g. the insole, the outsole, and the heel
  3. Flatten the edges of the shoe pieces to give a comfortable fit
  4. Sew the different parts of the shoe together
  5. Select the heel for the shoe – A stiletto? A flat shoe?
  6. Prepare the sole etc.

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.

How do I find a craft apprenticeship?

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:

  1. Through their employability courses they will teach you the skills companies are looking for e.g. confidence, resilience and professional behaviour. These courses last between 6 weeks and 2 years.
  2. You will be given a careers advisor who will help you find and apply to the job you want. They will help you write your CV and give you interview practice.
  3. You will be given ongoing support throughout your apprenticeship. Someone to talk to when things go right, as well as wrong. An extra form of support to help you succeed.

Who are the Charity Partners that will give me access to these craft apprenticeships?

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.

How do I become a charity partner to help young people gain access to craft apprentice opportunities?

To gain access to these job opportunities your charity must:

  • Train and assess your young people in life skills needed to succeed in the work place e.g. communication, professionalism, initiative, planning, self-awareness and resilience.
  • Closely vet each young person for each job opportunity. Each young person must apply to a job where they feel they can add value. Selecting a job they are genuinely interested in.
  • Have skills advisors to help each young person apply for the job e.g. CV writing skills and interview practice.
  • Provide support for both the apprentice and the company throughout the entirety of the apprenticeship (if the company feels it is appropriate).

If you meet the above criteria and are interested in accessing these craft job opportunities please contact info@qest.org.uk

Registered Charity No. 1152032 © QEST2016