Thursday, 2 May 2013

HRH The Prince of Wales presents Craft Skills Awards

Today HCA committee are mostly in London for the presentation of the Craft Skills Awards. Copied below are details from the press release. We will add more details when we are back home. HCA have been heavily involved with these awards since first discussing the idea with Skills Minister John Hayes over 2 years ago so it is great to see them finally here. HVA vice chair Patricia Lovett was on the awards steering group and shortlisting committee, HCA chair Robin Wood was one of the final judges. One of HCAs key aims is to increase recognition of the skill involved in traditional crafts and we hope these awards are a great step in that direction.

Craft Skills Awards winners announced as UK craft industry tops £4.4bn
His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales, awarded prizes today (2 May 2013) to a range of British craftspeople for their contribution to the UK crafts industry.
The inaugural Craft Skills Awards 2013 were set up by Creative & Cultural Skills and partners, to reward and encourage best practice in passing on craft skills.

Entries were received from companies and institutions, teachers, tutors, workshop leaders, masters and individuals and categories include ‘Encouraging Craft Skills in the Workplace’, ‘Encouraging Craft Skills in an Educational Setting’, ‘Encouraging Craft Skills in an Informal Setting’ and ‘Engaging New and Diverse Audiences in Craft Skills’.

During the ceremony it was revealed that the UK crafts sector now contributes £4.4bn (GVA) to the economy, making it equal in size to the British petrochemical industry. However, eighty percent of craftspeople admit they don’t pass on their skills and some skills, such as parchment making, are at risk of extinction in the UK. With 25,000 new jobs anticipated in crafts between now and 2022, it is vital that the best practice shown by the award winners is maintained and developed.

Also announced were the Craft Skills Champions of 2013 which were presented to two individuals, Calligrapher Ewan Clayton and Basket Maker Mary Butcher. These champions were selected by the judging panel for their long-standing work in developing others’ craft skills. This special award category was not made public prior to the ceremony.

Award winners received their prizes from HRH, The Prince of Wales and the ceremony was attended by the awards ambassadors and judges, including Sir Christopher Frayling (HCA Patron).

Minister for Skills, Matthew Hancock MP said:
"Britain leads the world in many creative industries and skills. The crafts are something we can be proud of and with its contribution to the UK economy it is important to keep these skills alive, generating employment. These awards acknowledge that contribution and reward innovation and I am pleased to see craftspeople recognised for taking the time to pass on these skills and ensure that we continue to increase the importance of this sector."

The awards in full were

Craft Skills Awards 2013 Winners 
Encouraging Craft Skills in the Workplace
Winner: Alan Staley (Boatbuilder), Alan Staley Boatbuilders, Kent
Highly Commended: Sam Goates (Weaver), We Are One Creative, Scotland Lee Mapley (Parchment and Vellum Maker), William Cowley Parchment Works, Buckinghamshire
Encouraging Craft Skills in an Educational Setting
Winner: Bishopsland Trust, Oliver and Pope Makower (Jewellers), Berkshire
Highly Commended: Royal School of Needlework (Embroidery), London Firing Up, Anthony Quinn (Ceramicist), UK
Engaging New and Diverse Audiences in Craft Skills
Winner: Clayground Collective Ltd, Duncan Hooson and Julia Rowntree (Ceramicists), London
Highly Commended: Impact Arts Projects Ltd, Graeme Douglas (Various), Scotland
Craftspace, Shelanu: Women’s Craft Collective, Emma Daker (Jewellery), Birmingham
Encouraging Craft Skills in Informal Settings
Winner: Wendy Shorter (Upholstery), Wendy Shorter Interiors Ltd, Hertfordshire
Highly Commended: Tom Trimmins, Tom Trimmins Woodwork, London Tannaghmore Blacksmiths, Northern Ireland
Judges’ Spotlight Award
Winner: Autonomatic, Falmouth University, Katie Bunnell (Digital Crafts), Falmouth
Craft Champion
Winners: Mary Butcher (Basketry), Canterbury 
Ewan Clayton (Calligraphy and Lettering), Brighton

A while ago we were in corespondence with one of the winners Alan Staley Boatbuilders see their website here 
We have been incredibly impressed with the work Alan does taking on school leavers and training them for a full 5 years, there are very few places where you can do this full time served apprenticeship in any traditional craft now and we wondered how he managed to fund it. Copied below is Alans response.

"As far as funding is concerned, there never has been any!  When I started my apprenticeship in 1961, the rate of pay for a new apprentice was - for one weeks work the apprentice was paid, what the skilled man received for one days work, and the apprentices's money went up each year until at the end of their apprenticeship, they were earning just a little less than the skilled man.   This always did work well and I have done the same until the introduction of the minimum wage.
We do receive enquiries from people in their 30s - 40s regarding training, but the minimum wage makes this impossible."

"The trainees when they leave us seem to have no problem obtaining work with other yards.   I have had phone calls from yards who have had one of our trainees that have subsequently moved on again, asking if we have another one they can have.
I suppose I could be accused of being obsessed with wooden boats, but I do think that perhaps to some extent rubs off on people who work with me. There have been those that have left after a short time realising that this is not the job for them, whilst those who stay the course become equally obsessed and are then determined to make a success of their future in wooden boat work."

It is great that Alan manages to pass his skills on and we hope he inspires others. We are aware that for many it is currently not financially viable and we are keen to ensure the conditions exist where people can pass on their skills without it being to the detriment of their livelihood.

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