Sri Lanka Export Development Board (EDB) and Sri Lanka Gem and Jewellery Association (SLGJA) in collaboration with Academy of Design (AOD) launched a One Year Diploma in Jewellery Designing to develop the jewellery designer pool by attracting young and talented designers towards the industry.
The gem and jewellery industry remains one of the country’s main foreign exchange earners and is the fifth largest industry in terms of receiving foreign exchange revenue to the country. The annual foreign exchange generated from jewellery is minimal compared to the exchange generated from gem export during the past few years. At present, Sri Lanka’s main markets for Jewellery are USA, UAE, Singapore, Hong Kong, Germany, Japan and Switzerland.
The main factors hindering the progress of the industry are the lack of awareness on the benefits of using design as a differentiator in the international market and inadequate number of designers who are capable of producing exquisite designs to attract the high-end segments in the international markets.
“The limited local designer pool and the limited capacity of designers to visualise and conceptualise the jewellery designs according to the consumer requirement and produce designs that have a global appeal, has affected the industry in promoting high end jewellery internationally,” stated EDB Chairperson and Chief Executive Indira Malwatte.
“The development of design in the industry will help to produce directly to the consumer market especially to the high end and attract more international buyers to Sri Lanka for higher value-added products,” Malwatte added.
Considering the importance of creating appropriate designers for the jewellery industry in order to differentiate Sri Lanka jewellery in the international markets, EDB together with the industry has carried out several jewellery design development programs to upgrade the capacities and skills of the jewellery designers and to provide exposure locally and internationally, especially advance training using latest state of art technology in jewellery designing.
SLGJA, the key private sector association for the development and promote of gems and jewellery industry also place high priority on developing the skills of jewellery designers in the country.
“A long term approach to teaching design skills is perhaps the most prudent way to address this need. This objective perhaps is best achieved by attracting young people with a fresh mindset and the ability to apply themselves unconventionally, in to the industry,” stated SLGJA Vice Chairman – Jewellery Segment Sellakumar Kandasamy.
It is known that the current pool of designers is technically skilled, but they lack in conceptualisation skills. What the industry needs is designers with different calibre, who understand the conceptualised contemporary designs for the jewellery industry he further added.
Keeping in line with the above, EDB and the SLGJA undertook another step forward by initiating a Diploma in Jewellery Designing in collaboration with the AOD in order to create appropriate designers for the jewellery industry who could differentiate Sri Lanka jewellery in the international market and to encourage talented young generation to step into the industry with the professional qualifications. Jewellery Design Diploma Program is a fully-fledged design qualification.
This program will run for total of 15 months including three months compulsory industry internship where the students will be given the opportunity to work in the jewellery manufacturing units in order to gain practical exposure to the industry. As this is the first endeavour of this nature and given the importance of retaining the designers in the sector, EDB and SLGJA facilitated five selected students on the basis of merit and their commitment to work in the jewellery industry for a minimum period of two years. This will benefit the industry to make use of these talented designers to improve the designs of the jewellery they manufacture.
Continuous implementation of this kind of programs will broad base the pool of jewellery designers of international calibre in the country, develop the image of Sri Lanka as a country being capable of designing and producing high end luxury jewellery and thereby place Sri Lanka on the world map as major jewellery production centre.