AWI to Start WOSTEP
Institute looks to retailers and manufacturers to join
The American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute has approved
use of Switzerland's top watchmaker training school's 3,000-hour
course. In a unanimous vote, the AWI Board of Directors approved
the courses certified by the Watchmakers of Switzerland Training
& Educational Program (WOSTEP) in Neuchâtel, says AWI
President David Christianson.
AWI becomes the fifth fully certified facility in the United
States to offer the full WOSTEP course. The others are North
Seattle Community College, Seattle, WA; University of Oklahoma,
Okmulgee, OK; St. Paul Technical College, St. Paul, MN; and the
Texas Institute of
Jewelry Technology, Paris, TX.
The first students in the new course will enter in the August
2000 AWI Academy program. Formerly a one-year program, the academy
now will be two years with the addition of the WOSTEP course,
says Christianson. A minimum of 10 students are expected for
the initial class, though AWI can accommodate more if needed,
Several major watch companies have expressed a desire to place
students in the classes at AWI and other schools. This was one
result of a recent AWI and WOSTEP meeting in New York City with
representatives of many major companies.
Such participation in training in the U.S. is critical, says
Anthony Riggio, national service director for watch retailer
Tourneau and acting chairman of the AWI Industry Advisory Board.
"We have far fewer fully trained people entering watchmaking
today demand far exceeds supply," he says. "We
are all desperate for technicians."
Jim Lubic, who heads the AWI training program, says recent
graduates of the AWI Academy all were able to secure positions
in the industry before they graduated. "Also retailers and
service centers realize they need to offer stronger salaries
and benefits than have been offered in the past."
Tuition for the new program at AWI is $8,000 per year, with scholarships
available to qualified students. Contact AWI at (513) 367-9800,
by Michael Thompson
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.