Jason Holt, CEO of Hatton Garden’s Holts the Jewellers, has grown his business from being a specialist gemstone supplier to what is now The Holts Group of Companies. This encompasses a number of enterprises including Holts Academy of Jewellery, Jewellery Innovations and Holition. However, it is the Academy which is helping to preserve and develop the jewellery industry and its future generations. The not-for-profit establishment offers training and apprenticeships to 1,000 jewellery designers and manufacturers and businesses, across three London sites.
When Holt moved into his family business in 1999, he recognized the industry was on its’ knees – primarily due to a skills shortage that no one else seemed to be solving. Although many in the industry were dubious about his ideas, Holt decided to take matters into his own hands – and so the Academy was created.
“People couldn’t understand why we’d train someone to do what we do – no one else was doing it, so we’d just be training the competition,” Holt explained. “But my hunch was, by growing the industry for the future we’d have a place in it. Otherwise, we’d all die.”
Holt’s idea has evolved into a hugely successful project, and he is now advising the Coalition on ways to get more firms across the UK to take on apprentices.
In terms of the jewellery industry, it seems that he has found an effective way to train the next generation of Hatton Garden and jewellery wide experts. “We have an opportunity for the greatest living master craftsmen to pass on their skills to the next generation – but we must act now – before they retire – to make British craft and design great again. The more businesses who get involved in recruiting apprentices and making sure they tell us their skills needs – the greater the chance we will succeed in rejuvenating the industry”.