Where will the next potters come from?



THE ceramics industry is facing a chronic skills shortage that could threaten its future, according to company bosses.

That was the verdict of an industry summit held last week and attended by the Lord Mayor of the City of London.

Representatives from firms across the city met at the Potters Club, in Stoke, when the Lord Mayor visited the Potteries to discuss the future of the sector.

He also visited Moorcroft Pottery, in Burslem, Middleport Pottery and Steelite International, also in Middleport.

Companies including Steelite, Wade Ceramics, Caverswall China and Endeka Ceramics pledged to work more closely together to tackle the skills shortage.

Etruria-based Wade's managing director Paul Farmer said: "We are struggling to find a talented pool of people with the traditional skills we need.

"Yes we are moving forward with technology but we have all got 50-something technical managers and nothing backing them up.

"There used to be a fantastic course at Staffordshire University for that but it isn't there anymore because of a lack of demand.

"It's incumbent on all of us in the industry to do something to work together and move forward."

Mr Farmer said he had recently met with the British Ceramic Confederation to discuss the possibility of setting up a skills academy.

Trevor Johnson, managing director of Caverswall China, in Fenton, said: "When I left school aged 16 I went to work for Crown Staffs China and there was a fantastic training board.

"The company used to employ 400 people and every year there would be 10 or 15 young girls and boys joining and supervisors employed to look after them.

"We just haven't got that anymore and I would like to see some support on skills."

Continue reading this article by LOUISE PSYLLIDES, The Sentinel

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