Glass-making experts at Bath Aqua Glass have taken on a new apprentice.
The company, based at Cheap Street and Walcot Street, currently has five apprentices studying at Bath College.
College student Liam Taylor is the first apprentice to study jewellery making with Bath Aqua Glass and will learn how to make pedants, beads and hanging glass.
He is hoping to develop his design and business skills at the company, one of the last free-blown glass studios in the UK.
Liam, 19, from Paulton, started searching for apprentices after finishing his A-levels at Midsomer Norton Sixth Form.
Hoping for practical hands-on experience, he opted for an NVQ Level 2 in warm glass making instead of a university course.
He said: “I went through a lot of apprenticeship websites. Most of the ones I was applying for were graphic design and mainly involved computers. This one was just really unusual and it was the most creative.
“My friend is doing an art foundation course and when I described what I was doing to him, he was tempted to apply. I thought that was interesting.”
Bath Aqua Glass is an independent business selling a range of free-blown glassware, jewellery and stained glass.
Themis Mikelides, one of the directors at Bath Aqua Glass, started off his own career by enrolling on an art foundation course.
However, he believes that enrolling on an apprenticeship is the best way to get industry relevant skills.
Mr Mikelides said: “You can come out of a college with a glass certificate and not be appropriate for industry.
“Liam will not only learn manufacturing and making skills, he will gain an understanding of how art works in a business sense.”
Many apprentices studying with Bath Aqua Glass stay with the company and others go on to be successful businessmen in their own right.
Former trainee James Devereux started working with the company at 15-years-old and now has his own studio in Wiltshire.
Mr Mikelides is passionate about passing on his expertise to the next generation and keeping the art of glass-making alive.
He said: “Having an arts and craft business in the heart of Bath manufacturing and retailing everything is especially unique.
“We like to use local people and to give young people an opportunity. I want to train up people that will be with us over a number of years.
“We’re working in conjunction with Bath College and I’m hoping that more apprentices like this will start taking place.
“At the end when Liam has finished his apprenticeship there will be a full-time job for him.
“I’m certainly hoping he will be there and all the time and materials we have invested in him will pay back ten-fold.”
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