Foundation Programme alumna Chloe Lightfoot on what it takes to become a diamond mounting apprentice
What does it take to secure an apprenticeship as a goldsmith? We speak to talented Chloe Lightfoot, Foundation Programme alumnus and Diamond Mounting Apprentice at E.Wolfe & Co, about starting her career in this unique industry.
Thank you for joining us today, Chloe. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a fourth year diamond mounting apprentice at E.Wolfe & Co. I spent a year on the Foundation Programme at the Goldsmiths' Centre learning different aspects of the trade before deciding that I would like to pursue a career in diamond mounting.
What made you decide to apply for the Foundation Programme here at the Goldsmiths’ Centre?
I always knew that I wanted to do something creative that involved working with my hands. Whilst I was still at school studying my A-levels, I spent an afternoon a week at a silversmiths in Ashford called Ottewills. I really enjoyed being in a workshop environment and seeing all of the beautiful pieces they made. Steve Ottewill told me about the Goldsmiths' Centre so I did some research and discovered the Foundation Programme - which I quickly applied for!
In 2016 you won the Junior Award in the Goldsmiths’ Craft and Design Council Awards for your Platinum Rose Brooch. When did you realise you wanted to be a diamond mounter?
Out of all the different trades we were lucky enough to try whilst on the Foundation Programme diamond mounting was the one that I enjoyed the most. I liked the idea that you could make something beautiful by hand that started out as flat pieces of metal.
How would you describe an average day working as an apprentice?
I feel like a very lucky apprentice with the range of different pieces of jewellery that I get to make. I have become far more independent since I started my apprenticeship but I still work alongside my tutor who guides me.
In 2016 you were selected for the WorldSkills UK Squad. Tell us what it is like to compete at this competition and what taking part meant to you.
Being part of Squad UK for WorldSkills has been a really valuable experience for me. It has taught me so much about myself as a diamond mounter because you have to work completely independently and be very forward thinking and organised. Competing under pressure is very intense but at the end of it I feel proud looking at what I have achieved in very strict time frames.
What is your fondest memory from being a student at the Goldsmiths’ Centre?
My fondest memory during my time at the Goldsmiths' Centre is the presentation day at the very end of the course. All of our work that we made over the year was on display and our friends and family were invited along to see what we had been up to. It was really nice to be able to see what we had achieved as complete beginners in a year.
How did your experience at the Goldsmiths’ Centre prepare you for an apprenticeship?
My time at the Goldsmiths' Centre more than prepared me for my apprenticeship. I learnt so many different skills such as chasing and enamelling that I may not have learnt otherwise. We were taught by some of the top people in their specific area and met lots of other craftsmen within the trade. I learnt the basic skills that I needed to begin my diamond mounting apprenticeship whilst making friends and building a network in the trade.
See more of Chloe's work on Instagram:
Aged 16 to 19? Click here for more information and how to apply for the Foundation Programme at the Goldsmiths' Centre.