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 Post subject: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 1:59 am 
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Posts: 92
Location: Devon, UK
For those of you hoping this is a job posting, I apologise. I'm quite new to this site and have been reading through some of the topics. I was quite disheartened to read of one persons plight to enter the trade in London. I'm hoping he reads this.

The UK trade is not as "tight knit" as it is in other parts of the world. You can get in. You don't have to be of a trade family. Its not all "jobs for the boys" this seldom happens these days.

This particular person was looking to complete the FGA course and was not able to enter the trade. I'm not sure what the ultimate goal was. Most people enter the trade via retail, where personality, presentation and attitude is more important than qualifications. Experience is preferred but not usually essential. Theres alot going on in London, which is where most people head for, so you really need to stand out. In a non-retail position FGA's, GG's, Masters degree's and PhD's may get you into the more interesting areas. For retail they are nice but mostly surplus.

Try entering the trade in a different geographical area. I'm based in Devon where there are a great number of independent shops that still value knowledge more so than multiples or chains. Once you have worked in the trade in the provinces it does add valuable experience to your CV as well as the practical knowledge. From there onto the larger cities and better positions or maybe development of a particular area such as valuations, stone matching for repairs or buying for a small to large group of shops. There are only 2 professional labs I know of, who have their pick of applicants. An FGA holds more clout than a GG in the UK, but to enter retail the NAG JET courses are preferred first.

Once again, sorry its not a job post, but I feel there is someone who needs this.
Best wishes and good luck to all those looking for placements.


Last edited by gemsmithuk on Sun Oct 10, 2010 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Emloyment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Sun Oct 10, 2010 9:26 am 
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Before anyone comments, yes I know. Its supposed to say employment. Just shows I should type slower and proof read! :oops:


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Wed Dec 22, 2010 9:05 pm 
Quote:
Most people enter the trade via retail...........


Quote:
...... FGA's, GG's, Masters degree's and PhD's may get you into the more interesting areas. For retail they are nice but mostly surplus


So why spend all that money on a GG/FGA unless you are already in the trade?

I just lost my Physics a-level teaching job, just before the $1600 bonus, due to some cost-cutting cull. It means I'm unemployed again, and will go back onto the gem application trail again full-time.

Just don't know whether to try my luck in the UK again...


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 9:32 am 
By the way, has anyone heard of any inexperienced foreign native-English-speaking (UK, Australia etc.) being given a shot in the United States?

I see so many US-based adverts, and the GIA have an excellent job resource (unlike Gem-A, who lose interest in their students once their cheques have cleared).

However, if it's a visa "no-chance" situation, I don't want to waste weeks applying for these US-based jobs. It's a real time-heavy process.

Would I be right in thinking that there is a sufficient pool of native talent in the States to even consider a foreigner?


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 12:30 am 
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Work visas in the US are pretty much limited to very specialized technical needs. Of course, it is the employer that has to pay for the visa application and such. Thus the company looking to hire you would have to have a law firm on retainer to deal with the immigration paperwork. So I don't think gemology is a viable entryway into the US.

Curiously, though, an A-levels in physics and teaching experience may provide an entryway into the US. High school physics teachers are in demand everywhere in the US, with many school systems having to file emergency overrides to hire someone with physics knowledge but without the requisite teaching degree or, more commonly, with teaching degree but no physics background. I've had my students hired as high-school teachers by private schools while they were still working on their undergraduate degree. (As an aside, when my students ask me about tutoring, I tell them to ask for an outrageous hourly rate... and they get it).

So it may be possible that a large school system (maybe New York City or Los Angeles County) or a private school would be interested enough to deal with the cost of visa application for an *ahem* native English speaker with physics qualifications and teaching experience. Likely, you would have to pay for and attend to the university coursework to complete teaching certification, but if the school was willing to deal with the visa, it would be willing to file the emergency override until you received certification.

Note that I said "may be possible." I don't know any example where a high school teacher has been hired from overseas.


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Thu Jan 06, 2011 8:11 am 
While doing their undergraduate degrees? Wow, that's a train wreck.

I learned pretty quickly that I knew very little about Physics after from my degree, when I first started teaching this stuff.

Even optics, which I regarded as my strongest suit at school/uni, had large gaps in my knowledge to be filled.

Electricity, my worst area of Physics, is a massive struggle at upper-secondary level. Brutal..

The moral is, to pass an a-level/degree requires you to know as little as 30% of the material (choosing certain modules, choosing certain exam questions, low passing grades-%), whereas teaching it requires you to know 100% of the material.

I'd never considered teaching Physics in the US tbh, and was meaning more in terms of gemstone-related positions, but the teaching thing might be a back-burner idea.

Still, if the inner-city US kids are as bad as some of the ferral UK kids, it might be pretty tough going..


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Fri Jan 07, 2011 2:57 pm 
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Being a product of a US public education, I'll say as long as you can communicate the words in the books, you may be ok. Your 30% is probably equal to (maybe even greater than) most who teach in US high schools. Hope you do manage to find a job you can enjoy soon.

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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 10:49 am 
Been away from GO for a while. I actually didn't get 30%, but was stating that you could technically get a degree while knowing that amount of material. I was a "middling" student throughout my degree (50%-60%) - a 2:2 as we call it in the UK.

And yet (in just one attempt for each)...

FGA Foundation - Over 70% (dont know exact score)
FGA Theory 1 - 69%
FGA Theory 2 - 65%
FGA Practical - 65%

... and my FGA has been in absolute tatters for years.

Gem pass boundaries are tough compaired to degrees!


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2011 12:07 pm 
Kyriakin wrote:
Gem pass boundaries are tough compaired to degrees!



Mmmmm... Would you say that the one is primarily framed as a test of ability to absorb and retain a measurable quantity of specialist information and to apply some of that information to simple problem solving, whilst the other is more a test of a capacity to think cogently?

The question is genuinely an open one, all the more so since, these days, there are more soft option degrees which seem to require neither rigour of thought nor substantial study. Fifty years ago (in this country anyway), gemmology taught in technical colleges as (largely) a techically based skill. These days, there are no technical colleges in the UK because they have all magically been translated into universities offering degree certificates that, to a frightening extent, employers no longer trust in nor value as a guide to employability.


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 8:29 pm 
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Location: Devon, UK
So why spend all that money on a GG/FGA unless you are already in the trade?

Pride? I've no idea why you should spend the money. I advise people with GG's, FGA's, Degrees and PhD's on mineral related subjects. What qualifications do I have? Almost none, but I have put in 19 years hard graft, heart and soul.

As for Gem-A losing interest after the cheque has cleared. Maybe. But I think its more to do with resources. Do GIA offer discounts on books equipment and materials to their members? No, Gem-A do. Gem-A only have the one revenue stream now which is education. Holders of the FGA seem to have an education to a higher understanding whereas GIA have a much more retail approach. They are both good organisations, but they have vastly different incomes.


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2011 12:03 pm 
I was just questioning the sentence about most people entering the trade via retail, while also saying that most people entering retail don't need these qualifications.

That seems to be saying that the qualifications are not needed for the route into the industry that most people take (i.e. retail).


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:49 am 
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Joined: Sun Sep 19, 2010 2:01 am
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Location: Devon, UK
Sorry, I've been offline for a while. Generally to enter retail in the UK, sales experience is more important to most employers than qualifications. In "old school" retailers this is not the case and in places of high competition, like London, qualifications are used to reduce down the number of employees.

There are many retailers over here that are offering minimum wage and deserve to get minimum effort, but there are exceptions. The FGA/GG thing is still to do with pride. I'm currently working through the GG, because I think its more relevent to retail, but hope to go down the FGA route too. It won't make any difference to my pay, but a diploma in management or something similar would.

Keep your chin up. Something will turn up. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 12:08 pm 
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Sales? Retail? Seriously?

That's what people do with gems. They sell them.
:D It's not cancer research, it's not rocket science.....it's business.


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:05 pm 
Well.... sometimes they just like to look at them, collect them or study them even.... doesn't *have* to be business though it sometimes is. The business and non-business (consumer) parts of the gem-interest community are surely symbiotic; without the one the other would scarcely exist. Such part of the gem business community as might exist anyway would then be more completely akin to playing liar dice than is, in any event, trading in general :roll: :lol:

But only businesses pay people to operate them. Consumers must fund their own fancies.


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 Post subject: Re: Employment in the UK. Where to start.
PostPosted: Mon Jul 04, 2011 2:58 pm 
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:D If anyone hears of a position that will pay me to collect gems and/or just wear jewelry around the house, I'm available and quite qualified..... :wink: .

Gee, I'd even take it on as a second job.


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