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    Career Ideas: Bring the Guilds Back for Crafts


    Despite the announcement of significant cuts to the Arts Council, the Skills minister John Hayes last October spoke at the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA), calling for a new Arts and Craft Movement, which he said

    “Recognised the unbreakable link between satisfaction in work and quality of life – between craft and beauty.” 

    The minister emphasised the need for specialist skills and reported that the government will be establishing a circle of Guilds, those traditional associations formed hundreds of years ago, bringing skilled tradesmen together. Guilds still exist but it has not been common for them to be backed by government.

    Apprenticeships were suggested as the main way of practical training, as well as support for adult community learning. Fair access was also referred to - ensuring routes to more advanced skills are accessible for all of those with basic skills.

    A new award for excellence in the crafts will be developed and supported by government. However there was no mention of funding or financial backing for training, the only reference to this being that government will work with charities and others that support the crafts. Instead this was a speech intended to get the ball rolling on defining a ‘sector led skills system with a place for Guilds’.

    To follow the skills debate, see both a transcript and podcast of Mr Hayes’ speech and make your own comments, go to the BIS website.

    About the author: 

    Amy Hannington is a Research Assistant at PARN (Professional Associations Research Network).

    PARN is a not-for-profit, membership organisation for professional bodies. PARN’s main areas of expertise are research and consultancy services, provided not only for our members, but for other professional bodies and organisations interested in the field of professionalism.

    To contact Amy email or call +44 (0)117 928 1991.

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