The Macallan awards apprenticeship funding to Glasstorm

Inset: (c)Christina Kernohan

The Macallan whiskey brand has announced Glasstorm as one of four recipient businesses to benefit from its Artisan Apprenticeship Fund. The glass studio, based in the Scottish Highlands, is set to receive a £50,000 portion of £260,000 funding to enable the recruitment and training of a new, full-time apprentice.

Under the guidance of Brodie Nairn, Glasstorm’s director, with support from Ronnie Nelson, the studio hot shop manager, an apprentice is set to be trained in all elements of bespoke glass work. After completing a two-year hot glass apprenticeship, the trainee is expected to gain the practical skills and experience required to work as a glass blowing assistant, Glasstorm representatives have said. The apprentice is also set to have the opportunity to work towards a formal qualification, with guidance and support from Skills Development Scotland.

“Glassblowing is a craft that requires patience, good teaching, and support from the beginning,” said Brodie. “It takes many years to get even the basics done well. Studios like ours would traditionally employ from specialist training centres and have an assistant stay for a year before they move on to gain experience elsewhere and travel.

“The failings of this are that no-one embeds themselves into the community or stays longer, making a big cap on the skill sets available to the studio and limiting investment in time for individuals that ultimately move on within a year. With the creation of our apprenticeship position, we’re proud to see a small step towards what we hope will be wider progress.”

The Artisan Apprenticeship Fund is delivered through The Macallan Artisan Collective, a forum for master makers to network via live gatherings and digital events. The Macallan created the Artisan Apprenticeship Fund in recognition of the need to preserve and safeguard trades, skills and values.

Scottish businesses Alexander Manufacturing and Powderhall Bronze, alongside London-based Shepherds Bookbinders, are also set to benefit from a share of funds. The aim is to support and perpetuate key generational skills and crafts.

Proceeds for the fund have been generated primarily through the auction of The Reach 81 Years Old single malt. For further information about The Macallan Artisan Collective and The Macallan Artisan Apprenticeship Fund, visit The Macallan Positive Society and Community Initiatives.