Nationwide's support scheme offers apprentices the choice of a tools voucher or cash for expenses. Image courtesy: <a href="" target="_blank">The Rephinery</a>

Nationwide Jewellers is offering its annual apprentice support scheme for an eighth year as the number of educational resources available to budding jewellers continues to decline.

The buying group has invited members to nominate jewellery or watchmaker apprentices for the initiative, which grants all applicants a choice of a $500 Australian Jewellers Supplies tools voucher or $400 cash to be put towards fees and expenses.

Colin Pocklington, Nationwide Jewellers managing director

Colin Pocklington, Nationwide Jewellers managing director

Nationwide managing director Colin Pocklington reiterated the fact that fewer TAFE courses were available to jewellery and watch apprentices today than in previous years, adding that the support scheme continued to prove beneficial.

“The Nationwide members who receive this incentive for each year of the apprenticeship consider it to be a good initiative and an encouragement to take on apprentices,” he commented.

It was said the scheme had contributed more than $70,000 in support to apprentices since its commencement in 2009.

Nationwide director Barry Jackson stated, “As a significant organisation in the jewellery industry, we consider it important to support young people who are starting out in their jewellery careers.”

Submissions for the apprentice support scheme close 31 March 2016.

Barry Jackson, Nationwide Jewellers director

Barry Jackson, Nationwide Jewellers director

Pocklington noted that in addition to the support scheme, Nationwide encouraged up-and-coming jewellers to demonstrate their skills through the buying group’s annual Apprentice of the Year award competition.

“Apprentices are set a task to make a piece of jewellery,” he explained. “They are provided with a sketch and materials. A different complexity of task is set for apprentices in each year of study.”

The winner of the Apprentice of the Year award will be announced at the Nationwide dinner held in conjunction with the 2016 International Jewellery Fair (IJF).

The IJF will be held in Sydney from 27 to 29 August.

Nationwide represents about 470 members and more than 500 stores across Australia and New Zealand.

[Source:- Jewellermagazine]