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While many Australian sectors are experiencing difficulty in attracting young people, a recent survey by the JAA found that 54 per cent of members were 45 or older and 21 per cent were between 56 and 65. | Source: Professional Jeweller
While many Australian sectors are experiencing difficulty in attracting young people, a recent survey by the JAA found that 54 per cent of members were 45 or older and 21 per cent were between 56 and 65. | Source: Professional Jeweller

Call for young jewellers to unite

Jeweller editor Coleby Nicholson believes there is a need to attract more young talent to the jewellery industry and he has called upon young jewellers to unite under a new group.

I regularly hear people complain about the lack of young talent in the jewellery industry. I’m also often asked for information about young designers or if I know any young salespeople, so I thought it was about time that young people in the industry formed their own group.

It’s widely recognised that there is a shortage of young people taking up apprenticeships in many industries, including the jewellery industry. While many Australian sectors are experiencing difficulty in attracting young people, a recent survey by the JAA found that 54 per cent of members were 45 or older and 21 per cent were between 56 and 65.

Interestingly, there are no JAA members under 25 and I believe it’s safe to assume that the average age of jewellery retailers and suppliers across the board is easily over 50.

I know there is a lot of great young talent in the jewellery industry – yet many people come and talk to us at the trade fairs to discuss, or lament, the fact that there is no promotion of young people.

I’d love to see, and therefore I’m willing to help facilitate, the formation of a young jewellers group. As the industry voice, I think Jeweller should assist young Australians to unite together to help advance their industry.

"As the industry voice, I think Jeweller should assist young Australians to unite together to help advance their industry."

It need not be a formal association; it could simply begin as an informal group, perhaps under the banner YJA – Young Jewellers of Australia.

In fact, I am sure that there would be many Kiwis that would see the advantage of forming a cross-Tasman alliance – YJANZ – with other young Aussies.

Who knows, such an alliance could be a catalyst for a revitalisation of the industry. Afterall, it’s widely accepted that the jewellery industry lags behind other industries in terms of internet presence and online retailing, and if a new group can act as a hub of knowledge allowing young retailers, designers and suppliers to share information and experiences, it could only be a benefit.

With Facebook and other social media, it wouldn’t take much to get this new group organised. And if Jeweller, via our magazine, website and weekly newsletters, can act as the initial focal point to assist the formation of YJA or YJANZ, then great, let’s do it.

It would only be a benefit if young retailers could liaise with young suppliers or both could meet with young jewellery designers and manufacturers.

By getting the ball rolling now, it allows us enough time to see if there’s any interest in people starting, or joining, the group with the view of organising a first meeting at the Sydney jewellery fair in August. 

I also have no doubt that there would be a many suppliers and “old” people – on both sides of the Tasman – who would lend a hand to getting YJANZ started.

If you are interested in helping form a young jewellers group, click here.

 

Update 16 April, 2011

What seemed to be a simple story on a simple issue has created a great deal of comment, and along the way I think one of the issues has been confused.

While there is a lot of reader feedback about ‘jewellers’ (ie jewellery manufacturers, apprentices and trades people) my call is for young people in all sectors of the jewellery industry to come together. That is, it would be wonderful for say, retail sales staff to network with young people working for jewellery suppliers, and for young suppliers to meet young jewellery designers and vice versa.

Therefore this is not just about apprentices, it about all young people who work in, and for, the jewellery industry.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Coleby Nicholson

Former Publisher • Jeweller Magazine


Coleby Nicholson launched Jeweller in 1996 and was also publisher and managing editor from 2006 to 2019. He has covered the jewellery industry for more than 20 years and specialises in business-to-business aspects of the industry.

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