Fuller, Chairman of WB The Creative Jewellery Group, is a regular speaker at the event and made the comments during his ‘Careers in Jewellery’ presentation.
Those in attendance during Fuller’s presentation were challenged to “enter the confessional” and be completely honest with themselves about their strengths and weaknesses before deciding the direction their careers should take.
Some 180 people, 50 of whom are graduates, are employed by Fuller. He said he believed some graduates do not fully understand the industry they are entering, nor do they understand the commercial realities of working as a designer maker or the financial cost of being self-employed, and strongly urged those present to gain experience working for somebody else before starting out on their own.
“You may need two jobs to keep your head above water in the early days and don’t get fussy about doing jewellery repairs, they can pay the rent,” he remarked.
Fuller also spoke of the opportunities that exist within the jewellery industry for graduates willing to work in sales and marketing, manufacturing, CAD and rapid prototyping, business administration and export.
“Thirty four of the graduates in our company do not have jewellery specific degrees, their jobs could potentially have been yours,” he said.
Glasgow School of Art student Francesca Flynn was in the audience during Fuller’s talk: “He seemed genuinely interested in everyone present and made me realise that there are a whole range of other things I could potentially do. I shall definitely try to get experience working for someone else and am already thinking about where my strengths lie so I can take those into account when planning my future.”
Alexandra Tosto, who trained at The Cass, was also in the audience for the presentation: “I think some people were a bit depressed by what he said, because most of us really want to run their own businesses. But I’m half Italian and half German and I speak English, so I have three languages and I think I would enjoy going abroad and representing a company at overseas exhibitions, which wasn’t something I had previously considered. With the economy the way it is now everyone needs a job and he showed us a lot of different angles.”
Director of the Goldsmiths’ Centre Peter Taylor commented: “Patrick is an engaging speaker with wide experience of the global jewellery industry and his talk certainly provided a realistic picture of the various career opportunities it offers. The whole point of Getting Started is to assist participants in finding gainful employment/self-employment in the craft and industry and, as Patrick demonstrated, there are many different ways in which this can be achieved.”
Fuller concluded: “I hope I have opened their eyes to the many other opportunities that are available to them elsewhere in our industry, where their education, skills and talents are very much needed.”