Eight people yesterday became the first trainees to be taken on by Waterford Crystal in almost 30 years in traditional disciplines of crystal-blowing, cutting, sculpting and engraving.
They were part of a group of nine who have just completed a year-long training programme jointly run by Waterford Wexford Training Services and Waterford Crystal, while the ninth has gone into full-time eduation.
Last Friday, the trainees were presented with City and Guilds Accreditation at the Waterford Training Centre and the eight who were offered employment with Waterford Crystal officially began their apprenticeships yesterday.
Darren White, Keith Moore, Shane O’Connor, Kate Swift, Adam Doyle, Keith O’Loughlin, Conor Richardson, and Christopher Phelan, all from Waterford, and Theon Doran from Co Wexford were all delighted to complete their traineeship successfully and be presented with their certificates.
The Craft Manufacturing Training Programme was advertised in July of 2014 and the course started the following September. Participants were trained in either crystal manufacturing, blowing, cutting, sculpting, or engraving, with all training accredited through Waterford Wexford Training Services (WWTS) and The House of Waterford Crystal.
The new trainees progress to year two of a four-year programme to become master blowers, cutters, sculptors, or engravers with Waterford Crystal and are the first trainees to be taken on by Waterford since 1986.
Centre manager at WWTS, John Cassidy said this was the first Waterford Crystal traineeship run by the service and they were delighted with “the very successful outcome for the candidates and for the company”.
A similar, tailored, joint training programme is being run in Wexford with Zurich Insurance plc.
“We feel that this is the correct balance for training people in the skills required by industry,” said Mr Cassidy.
Philip Sheridan from City and Guilds said the programme demonstrated “how certifying bodies, training organisations and employers can successfully work together to meet the skills needs of industry”.
The retention of these artisanal skills are key to the future of the business, said House of Waterford Crystal manufacturing manager, Dermot Barlow.
“We are thrilled to welcome these apprentices into the Waterford family,” said Mr Barlow. “The unique skills and expertise of our craftspeople is at the heart of the Waterford brand and it’s essential that we continue to train the next generation of artisans so we can continue to make the stunning crystal pieces that are loved and admired around the world.”
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