• QEST Apprenticeship Scheme applications now open!

    Last year QEST piloted the Apprenticeship Scheme in a bid to support new talent in the craft world, as well as to address the nationwide issue of youth unemployment. We are very pleased to report that our pilot year was a success, having sponsored 6 QEST Apprentices in 2014, as well as 4 QEST Apprentices at the start of 2015. So far we have received extremely positive feedback from both apprentices and employers, who are enthusiastically taking part in training up the next generation of craftspeople working in Britain, and subsequently carrying forth the nation’s valuable skills.

    We have now launched our second round of QEST Apprenticeship applications this year, with a 28 August deadline and interviews w/c 16 November. Going forward QEST will be holding Scholarships interviews each spring, with Apprenticeship interviews taking place each autumn.

    Criteria for the QEST Apprenticeship Scheme:

    • You are a ‘team’ consisting of both apprentice and employer – you have already established a working relationship and are required to apply together. Please note that it is obligatory for both apprentice and employer candidates to attend interview should you make it to this final stage in the assessment process.
    • The apprentice must show acumen and dedication, and must envisage working with the company long term.
    • The employer must offer the opportunity to an individual who would otherwise be unable to take this career path. They must demonstrate why they are in need of QEST’s funding to employ the apprentice, and must agree to support the apprentice with at least the minimum wage for 3-5 years.  
    • We do not accept applications to undertake courses (MA, PGDip, short courses, etc.) at educational institutions. For this sort of training you would be eligible to apply for QEST Scholarship funding, interviews for which will take place in spring 2016. Check the website again toward the end of 2015 for information regarding Scholarship applications.


    Support from QEST will cover:

    • Funding to supplement wages above the minimum Apprenticeship wage
    • Funding to supplement training and equipment/material costs
    • A brief document outlining how to deal with any VAT issues that may arise from receiving ‘income’ for taking on an apprentice.
    • A meeting with a mentor, if needed, to help structure the apprenticeship.


    For more information please visit about the grants and how to apply to submit an application for Apprenticeship funding.

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  • Scholar Blog – Zoe Barnett

    Zoe Barnett – a term at City and Guilds


    I spent five years training and working as a stonemason following a degree in fine art painting and I’m now at City and Guilds of London Art School studying Historical Stone Carving.


    Following a successful first year and a busy summer working as a stonemason I was keen to get back to college and get my teeth into year two. The college runs a competition with St. George’s chapel at Windsor to design and carve new gargoyles for their restoration project. Over the summer we had been developing ideas, which we presented to the Windsor committee at the beginning of term. My design was shortlisted and I was given feedback to develop it further. In November the committee returned and accepted my design to be one of the three winning gargoyles. I was thrilled. I was then asked to make a full-scale model in clay, which once approved I started carving in stone.




    Alongside the Windsor project there was also the ‘normal’ timetable of study. We were paying particular attention to the ‘sketch’ this term and understanding how to capture the essence or movement of an object before developing detail. This initially started off two days of ‘sketch’ modelling. We were looking at the movement of the hips and shoulders of a person and how their weight was distributed. I found this a fascinating process which changed the way I was looking at the body and allowed me to give my work a more realistic look. After the two days working in 3D, we had another four days drawing.


    In the workshop the brief was to carve a stiff leaf capital. I found a beautiful, but rather damaged, plaster cast to copy. I researched which building it was originally from, and drew out how I thought it originally looked. Then, using wax, I remodeled the large damaged section so I had a clear understanding of the form before starting carving it in stone. The skills we’d just been working on in sketch modelling really came into play to help give the leaves a sense of movement, almost like a coiled spring. The carving was challenging, but I feel it has pushed my skills along again and I’m really pleased with the final result.



    carving 2


    The stone-carving department had a ‘school trip’ to Venice for five days in November. It is such an inspirational place and hearing about its history from our tutors and lecturers made it even more fascinating.  I found it very humbling to see quality and volume of all the amazing work, but at the same time it has certainly made me more determined!

    Outside college I have been involved in some very interesting projects at weekends for a well-regarded stone carver. I had the opportunity to work on the Houses of Parliament a number of times, repairing badly eroded tracery windows, which was very interesting (if a little nerve wracking!). I have also carried out letter carving at Westminster School, and assisted with some work for Canada House.

    It was certainly been a busy term, but seems to have flown by! I am really looking forward to next term which is going to involve carving the Windsor gargoyle in stone, completing my first bronze casting, transcribing a painting into clay and learning how to draw drapery!

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    Join us this summer as ‘Team QEST’ take part in the 2015 Regents Park 10 K run!


    About the run

    Set in the stunning Regent’s Park, this is one of the most popular summer races in London. The flat terrain makes it suitable for beginners and experienced runners alike. We will be here to support your running journey every step of the way with fundraising and training tips, as well as socials around the event, where you can get to know your fellow QEST teammates!. 


    How to take part

    To secure your place in the Regents Park 10K run, click here and register. noting ‘QEST’ as your team/charity name.

    PLEASE NOTE: We will be running the 5th of the 6 races – on Sunday 2nd August 2015

    Once your place is confirmed on the website, simply email us on: to confirm your spot on the QEST team. Please note these places are first come, first served, so please register with us as soon as possible! 



    The fee to sign up is £17, however we require each runner to set a fundraising target of minimum £100 as a donation to QEST. To facilitate your fundraising please register for a JustGiving page at Should each participant be able to break their £100 target, – this will allow us to fund an additional QEST scholarship next year!

     This is an excellent opportunity to raise money for QEST and continue in the pursuit of further opportunities for craftspeople throughout Britain. Beyond that, it will be a really fun team event!


    We look forward to welcoming you to Team QEST!


    Any questions please email-



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  • Scholar Blog #1 Alan Moore

    The Beginning of the Journey – My QEST So Far

    by Alan Moore


    I first heard about the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust whilst looking for funding to study at the prestigious Royal School of Needlework. Actually, that’s a terrible place to start. My name is Alan Moore, I am a Glasgow School of Art graduate and I run my own business making contemporary luxury menswear, using artisanal cloth and traditional techniques. I am enthusiastic about craft, and about locally sourced produce. My brand ethos is to source the best quality materials from Scotland and the UK and to ensure every product is made in the traditional way, by craftsmen and artisans in Scotland.

    After graduating from art school, I found myself a bit redundant. The competition was fierce and I had little to no industry experience. I thought that to get anywhere in fashion or textiles I either had to study further, which I couldn’t afford or move to London and intern for free, which I also couldn’t afford. So, young, naive and slightly arrogant, I started my own business. I worked in pubs and shops to fund the business and started to work on designs and garments that I would sell to friends and family. Fast forward a few years and the business is just starting to take off and establish a strong brand.

    Although I am delighted with how the business is doing and the fact that I am designing professionally, something has always niggled away at me. I studied embroidery at Glasgow School of Art, and absolutely loved it. After a lot of research I decided I was going to hone my skills and apply it to the business; men’s jackets covered in embroidery, akin to military uniforms, royal ceremonial outfits and religious capes.

    The Royal School of Needlework was always mentioned as the mecca of hand embroidery, I always felt a sense of romanticism and mystery surrounding the place, and with that a feeling of unattainability. After speaking with the RSN they advised that I look into the Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust, who had helped students in the past with things like course fees and travel bursaries.

    I submitted my application to QEST the day after the opening day, leaving myself months of waiting for an answer. The answer came in the form of an invitation to be interviewed in person and present my work in front of a selection of QEST ambassadors at the head office, a stone’s throw away from Buckingham Palace. Uncharacteristically, I was nervous, in fact, I was terrified. I had done my research and the people interviewing me included Head of VIP clients at Burberry, a Director at Gieves & Hawkes and the QEST’s chairman…no pressure then.

    I was pleasantly surprised at the warm welcome I received as I entered the regal yet modest headquarters. Not surprisingly I was offered a cup of tea and made to feel at ease, and at home. As I waited my turn to be interviewed I chatted with the staff, talking about my work and about the highlands of Scotland, by the time it came to presenting my work, I was calm and confident. I was shown into the interview room; in my head I had imagined a cold room with a desk and 4 interviewers. In stark contrast, the room was massive, and sat round a huge oak table were 9 judges. The judges and trustees all introduced themselves and set the tone for a relaxed presentation and discussion about my work and aspirations. The whole process was really rather pleasant and the feedback I received on my work, from the people who gave it will remain with me forever.

    Some weeks later, I received a letter from QEST congratulating me on becoming a scholar and awarding me funding to cover tuition fees at the Royal School of Needlework. Needless to say, I had a large dram to celebrate.

    I have yet to start my study at the RSN and despite being a new arrival to the QEST family; I have been welcomed with open arms and am already reaping the benefits of being associated with such a prestigious organisation. The acceptance lunch was one of the proudest moments of my life, being awarded my certificate and applauded by members of the Royal Warrant Holders Association was a great feeling. I hope to develop strong ties with QEST and to continue to participate in their events, pushing my own skills and learning from others within the network.



    alan moore2


    Alan Moore Ebroidery


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  • Enthusiastic response to Education Manifesto

    The value of the crafts industry to the British economy was measured using research commissioned after the government’s Department of Culture, Media and Sport proposed dropping crafts from its list of recognised creative industries in 2013.  “It’s far bigger than we thought,” said Rosy Greenlees, executive director of the Crafts Council, which carried out the research. “This is emphatic proof of the impact craft skills have on the economy.”

    The launch of Our Future is in the Making: An Education Manifesto for Craft and Making received enthusiastic support from luminaries from the worlds of craft, design, education, art and business, following an open letter to The Times published on 10th November 2014.


    The UK is a world leader in craft, yet craft education is at risk. This is why we support an Education Manifesto for Craft and Making, being launched at the House of Commons today.

    Craft skills generate £3.4bn for the UK economy, with 150,000 people employed in businesses driven by craft skills, in engineering, science, design, architecture, fashion and film.

    Making contributes to cognitive development and fosters wellbeing. It develops creativity, inventiveness, and problem-solving.

    Between 2007 and 2012 following changes in educational policies, student participation in craft-related GCSEs fell by 25 percent. In higher education, craft courses fell by 46 percent. This comes when elsewhere around the globe investment in creative education is rising.

    We make five calls for change: put craft and making at the heart of education; build more routes into craft careers; bring the entrepreneurial attitude of makers into education; invest in craft skills throughout careers; and promote higher education and artistic and scientific research in craft.

    The Crafts Council’s manifesto lays out 22 specific action points for the government to support crafts in schools, higher education and other paths to employment.

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  • Fashion inspired by fishing flies

    After showing at Holland & Holland last winter, Lai Symes has been inspired by the country theme.  The hat shown is made from charcoal faux-fur with woodcock feathers from her father-in-law’s farm in Suffolk and embroidered with a silver beaded spray reminiscent of gun shot and finished with raspberry colour shell-stitched lining.  Lai’s winter collection will feature the beautiful names and colours of fishing flies such as Partridge and Olive, Green Highlander, Blue Wing Olive and Woolly Bugger.

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    Lai Symes, shotgun hat