"The British Shooting Public spent more than £2.5 billion a year on goods and services. The Gun Trade are actively recruiting talent of all ages to develop the industry further and provide world leading products."
GTA members need you! If you're looking for a career in the Gun Trade visit our 'Situations Vacant' page where you'll find the latest jobs being offered by GTA members all over the country.
The UK Gun Trade is an exciting and vibrant field of employment. British shooters are spending at least £2.5 billion every year on goods and services.
Over recent years the sector has broadened significantly. Historically the gun trade was characterised by the manufacture of guns and ammunition with traditional retail engagement. Today we see all those original crafts being preserved and developed and far broader customer engagement through new communication channels and providing shooting opportunities for a deeper enduring experience.
So whether your skills lie in your hands, your ideas or your ability to bring people closer to shooting and the countryside, there will be openings for you in the industry.
Shooting supports the equivalent of 74,000 full time jobs so whether you are a school or university lever or already have transferable skills to bring into the Trade, we would like to talk to you about opportunities.
Since the earliest days, the traditional way of entering the trade was by indenture as an apprentice. The indenture was a contract between the recruit and his master that bound the master to provide craft training and accommodation in exchange for a premium usually paid by the parents. The apprenticeship could last for seven years, with the apprentice earning a little money in the latter years. Once the apprenticeship was complete – to the satisfaction of the master, the apprentice was promoted to a journeyman (from journee) who was able to earn a daily rate for his work. Later, on successful submission of a ‘master piece’ for examination to a guild such as The Worshipful Company of Gunmakers in the London trade, would allow promotion to ‘master’. The master could then set up in business on his own in that guild area and take on his own apprentices.
Apprenticeships still exist, although in a modernised form. There are two types - the trade apprenticeship and the government apprenticeship scheme.
Apprentices are aged 16 or over and combine working with studying to gain skills and knowledge in a specific job. Apprentices can be new or current employees. You can get government funding to cover some of the cost of training and assessing an apprentice if you’re in England.
The employer must pay the apprentice at least the minimum wage. The apprentice must:
work with experienced staff, learn job-specific skills, study during their working week (for example, at a college or training organisation).
There is one such course running in Birmingham.
Some gunmakers offer opportunities to potential employees along traditional lines, especially in the learning of specific crafts. They will usually be based on a contract or indenture and on average last for 3 years. The contract may contain a requirement for return of service after the apprenticeship period to ensure the ‘master’ doesn’t lose his investment. At the end of the apprenticeship a piece of work can be submitted for examination by the Gumakers’ Company to receive certificates of acceptance. The Gun Trade Association also present certificates of completion on apprenticeship.
The best solution will be a combination of the two schemes – government support, formal academic learning combined with the depth of training provided by craftsmen and women. The GTA is championing this approach and is currently in discussion with two academic providers. One will be working on the gunsmith apprenticeship syllabus, the other is a wider training scheme looking at the wider careers opportunities in the industry across retail, training, logisitics, communication etc.
To keep the trade alive we must recruit fresh talent. The GTA has a role to play in helping find suitable candidates, ensuring training is available and then putting them in touch with potential employers. Gun Trade businesses can help in this process. We need to know about your employment vacancies, whether it’s a specific skilled post you need filling or an opportunity for a trainee.