Regular readers of this column know that The 24 Karat Club is a strong proponent of continuing education for employees, up-dating one’s skills, and working towards advanced certifications. And yet, I am sympathetic to the two main reasons why more people don’t do it. One, the very high cost of taking classes and attending seminars. And, two, the significant amount of time away from family and the job that is required. The third reason, however, “I’ve been doing this for twenty years. At this point, what could I possibly learn?” doesn’t fly with me at all!
So, I am always a bit surprised when I do encounter someone with the opposing point of view. My friend Joel just hired someone to help out with the book-keeping at his up-scale jewelry store. His mother had been doing it for years, but she’s beginning to slow down, and she wasn’t comfortable with all the newest software. But the woman he hired knew nothing about the jewelry industry, and he was beginning to think that was a problem.
“Not a problem at all,” I told him. “There are plenty of ‘introduction to the jewelry business’ courses available on-line and for home study.”
“Who is going to pay for that?” he asked.
“You are!” I said.
“Well, what happens if after I pay for these courses, she leaves?” Joel countered.
I answered with a question, “What happens if she doesn’t take any courses, and stays?”
Apparently my friend Joel has yet to learn that in today’s environment, employees are not expenses to be managed or to be viewed as an area where costs need to be maintained, but rather as assets to be invested in for future growth. We need to compare the “rate of return” on education versus the alternative of doing nothing. Today’s best companies (and not just those in the jewelry industry) are always looking to train, up-grade employee skills, and provide educational opportunities for their team.
To encourage those in our industry to continue their education, improve their technical skills, or develop new professional skills, the 24 Karat Club offers a variety of scholarships to make classes more affordable. If you, or someone you work with would benefit from a 24 Karat Club scholarship, we suggest you contact one of our members to learn more about the nomination process. We especially invite store-owners to think about their staffs, and how an investment in education would benefit everyone.
As Mark Twain said, “Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.” Let’s astonish some people with a scholarship to improve their skills, their lives, and the lives of the people who count on them.
Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS. Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail Howard@FingerMate.com.