The British Jewellers’ Association (BJA) national committee is having to nominate and select a new chairman after Jason Holt, who was set to succeed Gary Williams in April, decided to turn down the position in favour of extending his work with the government’s apprenticeships initiative.
Holt, who has been named chairman of a new government apprenticeships ‘Craft Trailblazer’ (which includes the jewellery industry), revealed on Friday that he would be rescinding his upcoming role as BJA chairman to give the trailblazer programme his full attention.
He described the decision as “extremely difficult”, but said the trailblazer was “an excellent opportunity to influence change for the sector at a fundamentally strategic level and to ensure that the industry has a voice in government to help put Craft firmly in the minds of young people in school.”
Asked about his future work with the BJA, he said: “I think there is an opportunity for the BJA because I will still sit on the national committee, and so working in the trailblazer programme and being able to provide that end-to-end oversight will be valuable in making the BJA’s approach as realistic as possible.”
Current BJA chairman, Gary Williams, said: “Jason understandably doesn’t want to dilute his responsibilities for the BJA, so he feels he would not be able to take both chairmanships and give them both the time that they deserve.”
He said that the association still intends to have a newly-selected chairman in time for the next AGM at the end of April. “The vice chairman would normally just take on the chairman’s role, but since Helen O’Neill [who was selected to be vice chairman under Holt] is not actually vice chairman yet, then it can’t work as simply as that.
“As the situation is unusual, the whole of the national committee should have the opportunity of nominating or being nominated for the role of chairman, and Helen should have that opportunity as well.”
He added that it is likely a replacement will be selected and ratified within weeks. It is thought that possible candidates include Helen O’Neill, designer-maker Sarah Jordan and Hockley Mint MD Gary Wroe, all of whom have previously been nominated for the vice chairman role.