The craft industry is made up of businesses based on the production of handmade items. Craft production can be described as manufacturing with tools but not automation – the work of a skilled artisan or tradesperson.

The following are examples of businesses and roles within the craft industry.

Artisanal foods: small batches of food products that demonstrate skilled preparation and quality ingredients, such as small scale bakeries.

Craft Beer: Beer produced in small batches, typically using unique techniques or ingredients.

Fashion: Clothing, shoes and accessories produced by hand. For example, bespoke tailors and haute couture are essentially craft industries, and handmade jewellery.

Textiles: Embroidery, knitting, lace-making, quilting, silk-making and other textile products.

Decorative arts: Producing products that have artistic as well as functional value, such as ceramics.

Woodcraft: Wood products such as bowls, handmade furniture, wooden toys and even things like canoes.

Craft apprenticeships

In an attempt to boost the sector, in 2014 the government announced a new ‘Craft Apprenticeship Trailblazer’, comprising a group of 33 individual makers, craft businesses and associations, including the Crafts Council, tasked with developing a world-class apprenticeship standard for craft.

The apprenticeship it aimed to give craft sector employers the chance to design an apprenticeship as they want it, which works for their business and is recognised by government. The apprenticeship standard and assessment was designed to suit the small and micro-businesses that make up the majority of firms in the sector.

School leavers could do craft apprenticeships in roles like bespoke saddler: many of the skills are carried out by hand in order to produce an item that fits precisely to a customer’s requirements. Bespoke saddlers have practical skills in the manufacture of equestrian products including measurement and pattern construction. The skills involved in bespoke saddlery cover a wide area of expertise that includes craft as well as technical, creative and design.


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