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Empowering communities to turn waste into gold: the Goldfinger Factory performs a special kind of alchemy, training young people from underprivileged backgrounds in the art of upcycling. The social enterprise helps young participants acquire multiple artisan skills as a springboard into work.
Based in London’s North Kensington, the Goldfinger Factory was founded in 2013 as a combined teaching space and production workshop. Modelled on the ‘circular economy’, the social enterprise is committed to promoting and teaching artisan skills. To this end, the Factory’s Apprentice Programme is an annual training scheme for two young participants from underprivileged backgrounds. Goldfinger Factory’s apprentices learn the skills they need to transform used or waste materials into beautiful new objects and interiors.
Apprentices are selected on talent and merit, to receive individual training from volunteer artisans – including the project’s H³ ambassador at Hermès – for one year. The Apprentice Programme combines skills transmission and practical work experience in joinery, upholstery, leatherwork, metalwork, paintwork, etc., with the emphasis on upcycling or recycling used objects and materials. The apprentice scheme is an extension of the Factory’s existing Academy project, featuring public skills workshops led by volunteer artisans.
Apprentice Programme participants also attend evening classes and receive help and support as they begin looking for work. After completing the informal but comprehensive, targeted programme, the artisans-in-the-making may be offered the opportunity to work at the Goldfinger Factory or seek employment elsewhere. Dedicated to the transmission of artisan skills, the project is supported by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès as part of the second edition of our H³ programme (Heart - Head - Hand).