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Jyothi Forman, Georgies Fine Jewellery
Jyothi Forman, Georgies Fine Jewellery

Competitive advantages

I started my apprenticeship as a jeweller at the beginning of 2012. I have always loved creative art forms such as painting, ceramics and woodwork, and I fell in love with the trade of jewellery as soon as I sat at a bench and began hand-making unique pieces.

I have a passion for improving my skills and being the best tradesperson that I can be. In the three short years of being in the industry, I have achieved more than I could ever have imagined. I am continually pushing myself to refine my skills and nothing has been more successful in inspiring and motivating me to do so than entering competitions.

I entered my first competition – the Nationwide Apprentice of the Year Award – in 2012. I had to make a solitaire ring with a six-claw coronet-style setting and an upswept shank. It was quite a simple ring but I had not attempted a piece like it before.

Even though I didn’t win that year, I learnt so much and it was very rewarding to create a piece with new techniques.

There are so many benefits for jewellers and especially apprentices who compete in jewellery competitions. From personal experience, competitions have helped accelerate my skill development, boosted my confidence and made me more efficient at work. Some competitions measure the amount of metal used and wasted, which is a great way to learn how to use metal efficiently and thoughtfully.

Making pieces within a restricted time is also good practice for working under pressure and making accurate job plans. These are all very helpful skills in everyday work. What’s more, participating in competitions gives jewellers the chance to create pieces they might not usually get a chance to make, while showcasing their skills within the trade and also to the public.

It is a fantastic way to get inspired and motivated. There are also opportunities to make great contacts and friends within the industry as well as many positives from a business perspective too.

Employers can take advantage of free publicity through local newspapers and radio to promote the involvement and success of their jewellers.

Participation in competitions can give the company a more ‘real-person’ quality and show customers that staff are passionate about jewellery. This can help personalise the business and really set it apart from other jewellery stores – the public love to support local talent and keep up-to-date on the achievements of businesses.

Some people are hesitant to enter competitions; they don’t think they will win. But it is not about winning. All the benefits that I have mentioned above come just by entering and being motivated to do your best. Winning is an added bonus and everyone should be confident in themselves and believe that they have the ability to do so.

Another factor that can put jewellers off competing is the amount of time required to participate. I understand that we are in a very busy trade and free time is a rarity; however, you have to be willing to make some sacrifices to be successful. I have made time on weekends, after work and even taken holidays in order to prepare and participate in competitions. I am also fortunate to have a fantastic employer who is very encouraging and supportive.

There are different types of competitions available to jewellers and apprentices. Some focus solely on the skill of the competitor while others are more design-based. I have entered skill-based competitions such as the Nationwide Jewellers Apprentice of the Year and the WorldSkills Competition.

I highly recommend that everyone encourages young jewellers and apprentices to enter the WorldSkills Competition as it is a fantastic organisation that makes a huge effort to promote skills and trades in Australia and around the world. I’m currently in training to hopefully be selected for the national ‘Skillaroos’ team that will represent Australia at the International WorldSkills Competition in Brazil.

The Jewellers Association of Australia (JAA) Awards is another terrific opportunity for jewellers to showcase their creativity and talent. I have not entered these awards yet but I believe they are more design-based and have categories to suit everyone – apprentices, qualified jewellers and designers.

I want to encourage everyone to find a competition that inspires them and have a go!

Name: Jyothi Forman
Business: Georgies Fine Jewellery
Position: apprentice
Location: Narooma, NSW
Years in the industry: three

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