The British Academy of Jewellery is quite simply, unique. A big claim, yes, but behind that claim is the very heart of its reason for existence.
Founded in 1999 by a local Hatton Garden family-run business, we understand the needs of the industry because we are part of the industry.
What started off as a humble workshop below a family boutique has now flourished to become a hub of learning, ideas and creativity for the UK jewellery industry.
As a not-for-profit social enterprise, we work with industry, government and education partners to foster a network of support to help drive the growth of the UK jewellery industry.
Responding to trade’s need for skilled craftsmen, we developed innovative jewellery programmes and apprenticeships designed to nurture technical savoir-faire as well as creative ability.
Our focus is to create the next generation of jewellers who posses the aptitude and ingenuity to carry the torch and shape the future of the jewellery industry.
Sticking firm to our roots, our London campuses are scattered across Hatton Garden, keeping close ties with the local trade. The vibrant area has many delights to be explored including Leather Lane and Exmouth Market, as well being within walking distance from several major transport links.
We have now opened another campus in Birmingham’s lively city, taking residence in the historic Assay Office where we offer diploma programmes, short courses and apprenticeships.
As we expand, we continue to work with other academics institutions from around the world to promote international collaboration, boost creativity and help us become an international centre of excellence for all things jewellery.
To provide a world-class technical and creative education to INSPIRE, NURTURE and TRAIN the next generation of jewellers.
Whilst we have evolved as an education provider, we have retained our traditional values and dedication to teaching excellence.
Our talented team of tutors and staff at BAJ foster our culture seeking:
to INSPIRE, to ignite interest into the world of British jewellery manufacture and design.
to NURTURE, to draw out each student’s individual creativity and vision, and build their confidence.
to TRAIN, to equip students with a conceptual and technical skillset to prepare them for a career in industry.
to PIONEER, to be at the fore-front of innovation for jewellery education.
to CONNECT, to foster a jewellery network of support to help sustain and support the growth of the jewellery trade.
Take a walk through our history to find out how we championed our way to providing quality jewellery education, revived the UK’s Apprenticeship industry, and supported the industry using our interactive timeline:
A report from the department for trade and industry paints a bleak picture of the jewellery industry; craftsmen are a dying breed with a lack of new entrants. Founding family member Jason Holts writes a government bid for first incarnation of Holts Academy.
Initially, the school comprised of 6 lapidary wheels and 6 jewellery benches in the lower-ground level of the Holts Gems boutique in Hatton Garden. Headed by Roger Dunkin and supported by Holts lapidaries Claire Westenhofer, Jan Hugye and Emma Barne, 70 people were trained in the art of gem-cutting and design in the school’s first year of opening.
Over the next few years the Hatton Garden Gem School continued to develop additional training for jewellers according to the needs of the industry and in 2003 renamed the school the Holts School of Jewellery
In partnership with Newham College, Newham College, Holts drove a London Development Agency ‘Women into Jewellery’ initiative to support over 300 women in making a career in the jewellery industry over a three year period.
In conjunction with the Birmingham School of Jewellery and London Metropolitan University, Holts set up a City Fringe Partnership in the Technology Sector which would go on helping over 1000 businesses to embrace new technology over the next three years.
Working with the Palmer Hamilton Partnership and jeweller Aldyth Crowther, Holts set up another City Fringe Partnership: ‘The Future in the Making’ with the aim to help over 500 mid-career independent jewellers to evolve and embrace modern business practice over the next three years.
In 2007, the school became a separate not for profit legal entity and was renamed the Holts Academy of Jewellery
The Academy opened its first dedicated site at Langdales in Hatton Garden, complete with two jewellery workshop studios and a CAD suite.
In partnership with Newham College Centre for Innovation and Partnerships, the Academy launched the ERDF Sonar Project: the first-of-its-kind CAD/CAM training and development centre for the jewellery industry at Temple Yard, Bethnal Green. The centre provided facilities to encourage experienced jewellers to adopt more modern jewellery manufacturing methods in order to remain competitive.
In partnership with Newham College Centre for Innovation and Development and funded by the European Social Fund, the Academy drove an initiative to engage industry to adopt ethical and sustainable jewellery practices. Alongside communicating its importance, Holts provided support on embedding ethical supply chains, business practices, and environmental improvements to jewellery businesses.
In conjunction with the Camden Council and the Change Act Share organisation, the Academy created the Jewellery Connections Initiative, which aimed to help local UK designers and makers to connect with each to develop new products and partnerships, helping the trade to flourish.
Holts Academy becomes accredited by SQA to offer vocational training qualifications.
Holts Academy create and launch the first ever NVQ in Jewellery Manufacture.
Working with Creative and Cultural Skills, the Academy developed a new suite of Jewellery Manufacture Diplomas at beginner and intermediate level in response to the industry’s desperate need for craftsmen with manufacturing savoir-faire. The courses were designed with a core focus on equipping students with a technical manufacturing and design skillset to be able to produce their creations to the highest level of excellence.
Based in London and Birmingham, our courses are taught in professional quality design studios and CAD suites. To find out more about our facilities, visit Location & Facilities.
Our on-site Student Support team is on hand to give you the advice and guidance you need to succeed at BAJ and in industry. To find out more about our Student Support Services, visit Teaching & Student Support.
We’re always looking to grow our teams with enthusiastic, driven people with a passion for jewellery. If you think you have what it takes to work for the British Academy of Jewellery please send an email with your cv and cover letter attached and the position you would like to apply for in the subject to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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