In 1878 an organisation that has since become synonymous with providing accredited qualifications for craft-based trades, know as City and Guilds, was founded by the City of London and sixteen Livery Companies, who became the traditional guardians of a national system of technical education and work-based training. Sadly, over recent years the recognition of wood turning by City and Guilds, as a separate craft, which justifies its own courses and qualifications diminished and, by the early 2000s, turning was reduced to a small sub-set of the City and Guilds syllabus in carpentry. Given that we were not receiving the recognition for our craft of turning commensurate with our financial contribution to City and Guilds and, following a recommendation from the then chairman of the Howe Committee, the Company ceased contributions.
Development of new Turning Qualifications
In 2010 at the Register of Professional Turners AGM and Craft meeting in Apothecaries’ Hall, the then Master included in his speech a commitment to initiate the creation of a qualification in turning. On behalf of the Turners’ Company, he approached the then Chairman of the AWGB, Liveryman Reg Hawthorne, for his recommendation for someone with the appropriate educational and woodturning instructional skills. He recommended Liveryman Peter Bradwick who was then employed by an F.E. college in Cwmbran and the then development director of the AWGB.
The initial idea was that, in the short-term, the new qualification should be accredited by the Company, with a view to offering it back to City and Guilds once the structure and process had been tried and tested over an extended period.
Certificate in Turning
Due entirely to the hard work and dedicated commitment over many years of Liveryman Peter Bradwick, we now have the entry-level qualification of a ‘Certificate in Turning’; of which more than one hundred and eighty have already been awarded through various training establishments.
The first two awards were made in Cwmbran by the then Master Peter Gibson.
Others have followed at The Buildings Craft College, Stratford and The Max Cary Trust Mill at Portishead, Bristol.
In 2019 the Company awarded the 100th Certificate in Turning to Marion Groves, a candidate from the Max Cary Trust.
Diploma in Turning
Under the egis of the Education and Standards sub-committee of the Howe committee, the syllabus for the higher-level ‘Diploma in Turning’ was assessed through a pilot study at the Max Carey Trust and then, despite to exigencies of the Covid pandemic, the first two candidates, Helen Bailey and John Dilley complete the syllabus for the award.
The Diploma award will be managed differently, due to the nature of the syllabus. After the completion of, or acquired exemption from, the initial mandatory tasks, the candidate will ‘self-manage’ their own progress towards achieving the required standard in their selected task options.
For those who are familiar, it will be similar to the Open University process of selecting ‘Unit Options’ to complete towards achieving the final qualification, in their own time and at their own pace.
Master in Turning
The third level of qualification is the award of ‘Master in Turning’. This is currently awarded by the Company, in recognition of a lifetime of achievement and contribution to the craft.
Nominations for consideration can be received from anyone in the craft who wishes to sponsor a candidate by applying to The Company Clerk.
The application will be submitted to the Company ‘Electoral College’ for recognition of their wider commitment to the craft, above and beyond their essential excellence in turning. This would include recognising their international status, charitable commitments, training and their high-level organisational commitments and work towards fostering recognition of the craft through their known actions and personal profile within the craft.
Since 2010 the Company has only made three prestigious ‘Master in Turning’ awards; the first to Liveryman Ray Key BEM, the second to Liveryman Stuart Mortimer and the third to Liveryman Reg Hawthorne.
Past Master Peter Ellis
Chairman, Education and Standards Sub-Committee