Supporting Young Blacksmiths

16-year-old Loris on a work placement in the workshop

We continue to support young blacksmiths in developing their skills. Over the last couple of months, we have been happy to have Matthias Kuhn, a German Journeyman continuing our tradition of placements. Matthias is in his 6th year of training. During January he has been using the workshop a couple of days a week to get his portfolio ready for applying to study at Steneby Institute of Craft and Design. Steneby is host to Europe’s largest academic metal/blacksmithing workspace and is a brilliant place to study for anyone interested in a career in ironwork.

Matthias tells how in Germany the traditional Journeyman is a familiar sight. Journeymen traditionally don’t use any technology including a smartphone. They cannot spend money on transport and rely on lifts, mainly hitchhiking. This means they meet many people on their travels and get jobs along the way. Exploring different workshops means they learn a wide variety of skills by seeing how smiths work differently across many settings. Journeymen have to remain 50km away from their hometown and they travel and work this way for 3 years and 1 day. Interestingly, Matthais has chosen not to do it the traditional way as he wants to travel beyond Germany and as people don’t recognise the tradition outside Germany it makes things difficult. Matthias is doing his own modern version! We wish him much luck with his plans for studying at Steneby and for the future, it has been a pleasure to have him at Ironart. 

Following on from this we also have local, 16-year-old Loris Sarkissian on a work placement in the workshop, 2 days a week. Loris started studying at Hereford College this September, 3 days a week. He came looking for a work placement for the two days a week he is not at college, to get even more experience. We are happy to welcome Loris into the workshop.

Ironart on BBC Radio Bristol

Alice was interviewed on the BBC Radio Bristol drivetime show yesterday, hosted by Geoff Twentyman. The interview was about the problems that small to medium sized businesses face when they consider recruiting an apprentice. Here at Ironart we had to do a lot of research into each of the local colleges, what course they offer, what apprenticeship packages they offered, and what their expectations were from us as a business before we could even start to think about who we would take on.

Radstock College have joined forces with Bath college to try and make the process simpler, thereby encouraging more businesses and opening up more opportunities for apprentices in BANES. It’s a great initiative and we’re right behind them.

You can listen again by clicking on the image below or following this link. Go to 1. 24.25 if you don’t want to trawl your way through the whole show!

For more information on apprenticeships, please contact Becca Thurston at Norton Radstock College –