The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s renowned Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills & Design Course is a unique programme designed to equip graduates with the practical skills and technical knowledge needed to develop careers in the jewellery industry in Ireland and internationally. This course is accredited through National University of Ireland, Maynooth.

This intensive two-year programme is delivered at the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland’s Jewellery and Goldsmithing Centre of Excellence in the organisation's headquarters in Kilkenny. Now in its 24th year, the DCCoI Jewellery and Goldsmithing Skills & Design course specialises in the tradition of precious metals and gemstones, covering design, quantity production techniques and manufacture. Specialist subjects such as engraving, enamelling, gemmology, stone setting and silversmithing are taught by tutors who are trained experts from within the jewellery industry in Ireland and abroad.

Building on the experience and success of this skills-based course and the Ceramics Skills & Design course at Island Mill in Thomastown, Kilkenny, DCCoI’s vision is to work with partner organisations in developing centres of excellence in other key disciplines to ensure industry needs are met through specialised training and access to facilities, leading to an emerging workforce with the experience and expertise necessary for the ongoing development of craft and design in Ireland.

What will I study?

The programme aims to introduce participants to the basic core skills, knowledge and competencies that are required by all goldsmiths. A large focus of the course is the design process and pushing the boundaries of design and techniques in order to stimulate creativity and vitality in the industry. This intensive course seeks to compress a large volume of work into two years and overtime hours are required in order to bring projects to completion. Many of the subjects are introduced in order for the participants to continue practicing and learning whichever techniques they are drawn to in their own time. A huge level of commitment is required to complete such an intensive programme along with the ability to self-direct and motivate.

Year 1

The year begins with an emphasis on developing core skills, know-how and accuracy required. There is an introduction to drawing in the second term as sketchbooks and moodboards become an important feature of the lengthy design process in future projects. Participants will soon begin to work in precious metal on design-led intricate projects lasting from 5 to 8 weeks. Specialist techniques are introduced to allow participants to push their designs, using traditional techniques and modern technologies.

Year 2

Participants continue to receive introductions to specialist subjects including casting, gemstone setting, hand engraving, forging, silversmithing, surface decoration, enamelling, gemmology, laser welding and CAD/CAM.

In the second year, there is an even greater emphasis on self-directed learning with participants building towards creating a more personal final project which reflects their developed style and technique.

Relevant Industry Experience

Participants are allocated up to four weeks in the second year to go on work placement in a workshop of their choice.

As part of this programme at DCCoI's Centre of Excellence, participants receive business-related guidance on topics such as networking with others in the industry, developing and running your own studio and starting your own business options.

How will I be assessed?    

There are a number of standardised practical exams in both the first and second years where the same set task is approached by all participants. Participants are continuously assessed with an emphasis on practical skills and craftsmanship, the design process, moodboards, sketchbooks and samples.

Opportunities after Graduation

Many participants initially gain experience in workshops in Ireland and abroad. Many then use the design skills they have learned and developed on the course to set up their own businesses as designer/makers. Other participants have chosen to further their education, topping up their skills with more advanced courses of study in specific areas.

Course Mode

Full time, September – July
2 years (44 weeks per year) including work placement in Year Two.
Enrollment is on a biennial basis.

Number of Places

12 (allowing all participants their own work bench).

Application and selection process

  • Applications for the 2019–2021 programme will open in early 2019. (Places on the 2017–2019 programme have already been filled.)
  • Applicants must be EU citizens or resident in EU.
  • Applicants must be 18 years or over.

Application | Interview | Portfolio / 3D work

There is a bench test for short-listed applicants that occurs in May/June of the year of admission. Applicants will be asked to bring a Portfolio of their work to their interview.