Isabel Keim
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Former Garrard & Co and Ottewill Silversmiths Apprentices, Robert Dean and Lewis Towens, named Goldsmiths' Company Apprentice of the Year winners

On Thursday 7th April 2022, Robert Dean and Lewis Towens, two former Goldsmiths’ Company Apprentices, were named the Goldsmiths’ Company Apprentice of the Year 2020/21 and 2021/22 awards at the Goldsmiths’ Centre. The winners were nominated by their peers for the quality of their craftsmanship, their support to other apprentices entering the industry, and their enthusiasm as ambassadors for the Goldsmiths’ Company Apprenticeship Scheme.

The Apprentice of the Year Award is a prestigious accolade, awarded since 2015, which sees fellow apprentices nominate peers who have gone above and beyond the requirements of the 700-year-old Goldsmiths’ Company Apprenticeship Scheme. Due to a pandemic-induced hiatus, this year the apprentices were asked to choose two worthy winners from their cohorts. This was not an easy task as demonstrated by the twelve apprentices’ extraordinary, handcrafted Masterpieces, which from today are on show as part of the Goldsmiths’ Centre’s free exhibition Apprentice to Masterpiece: The Work of the Goldsmiths’ Apprentices.

Goldsmiths' Company Apprentice of the Year winner, Robert Dean, with David Webster from Garrard & Co

Robert Dean, a former Goldsmiths’ Centre Foundation Programme trainee who completed his apprenticeship as a Diamond Mounter at Garrard & Co, was selected for the Apprentice of the Year 2020/21 award due to the support that he gave to his peers throughout his training. He competed at the WorldSkills 2019 competition as well as winning a silver award for his Diamond Mounting at the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council 2020 awards.

David Webster, Robert’s Master at Garrard & Co commended Robert on his achievements:

“We are all very proud that Robert has become an accomplished goldsmith in a relatively short space of time, and wish him all the best for the future.”
Lewis Towens' Goldsmiths' Company of the Year Award received by his father Paul Towens from Ottewills Silversmiths and Jewellers

The Apprentice of the Year 2021/22 award went to Lewis Towens, who started his career as a carpenter before becoming a Smallwork apprentice at Ottewills Silversmiths and Jewellers. Throughout his four-year apprenticeship, Lewis supported apprentices within his workshop and pushed himself continuously to develop his craft skills.

His Master, and father, Paul Towens commented:

“It has been a pleasure to be able to teach him throughout his apprenticeship, watching him develop his skills and grow in confidence. I look forward to watching him continue to hone his skills, to become the master craftsman I know he can be.”

Most recently, Lewis created his ambitious Masterpiece, a silver Gentleman’s Box, complete with a handmade pen, scent bottle, cufflinks, signet rings and clock.

“The twelve amazing Masterpieces on show within the Apprentice to Masterpiece exhibition demonstrate the hard work of two cohorts of Goldsmiths’ Company apprentices and the dedication of their Masters. We are proud to present two Goldsmiths’ Company Apprentice of the Year awards, which encourage apprentices to aspire to excellence during and beyond their training. Both Rob and Lewis have exceeded the expectations of the Goldsmiths’ Company Apprenticeship Scheme and today we celebrate their contributions to our industry and their future careers.”

– Helen Dobson, Programme Manager (Education) at the Goldsmiths' Centre

Lewis’ and Robert’s Masterpieces can be admired alongside the work of fellow apprentices in the Apprentice to Masterpiece: The Work of the Goldsmiths’ Apprentices exhibition until 9 June 2022. And whilst these Masterpieces may mark the formal end of an apprenticeship, they signify the start of a glittering career for all twelve skilled craftspeople.

For more information on the free Apprentice to Masterpiece exhibition visit or the Goldsmiths’ Company Apprenticeship Scheme, delivered by the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London, visit


Image Credits: Julia Skupny