The program is in its 9th year of operation and was developed with the aim of supporting people wanting to enter the industry and further their education and skills.
Retail members are required to nominate their jewellery or watchmaker apprentices who will receive a choice of a $500 Australian Jewellers Supplies tools voucher or $400 in cash to put towards fees and expenses.
Nationwide merchandise and marketing director Niven McArthur said it was important for the buying group to continue its apprentice support scheme for a number of reasons.
“Government support for jewellery apprentices is pretty much non-existent as far as we can tell,” he stated. “The responsibility for support therefore falls on those companies reliant on the jewellery industry for their livelihood.”
McArthur said the increased demand for “custom design” also heightened the need for skilled jewellers.“We must help in bringing skilled craftsmen and women that are able to provide this service to consumers,” he said.
The scheme, which commenced in 2009, has contributed more than $80,000 in support to apprentices.
Any apprentice enrolled in a recognised course and who works for a Nationwide member is eligible to apply. No other criteria exists and there is no limit on how many can participate in the scheme.
Nationwide also conducts an annual Apprentice of the Year award scheme for apprentices, with this year’s winner being announced at the Sydney International Jewellery Fair in August.
Nationwide represents about 420 stores across Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
Submissions for the apprentice support scheme close 31 March 2017.
Jewellery apprentice support scheme