Glassblowing is a technique for shaping glass. Until the 19th century, all glass was made by hand, using a blowpipe. Today much glassmaking is automated, but some items are still created the traditional way.
In this process the glassblower:
Some glassblowers carry out the entire process, while others work as part of a team, focusing on specific tasks.
Glassblowers may create:
The work is carried out in factories, studios or workshops. The environment can be hot and noisy. Glassblowers may need to stand for long periods. They wear protective clothing and goggles.
Salaries range from around £10,300 a year to £25,000 or more.
There are no set entry requirements. GCSE's or equivalent in subjects such as science, art, design and technology may be useful. Apprenticeships in glassblowing may be available.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Courses in three-dimensional design or glass-related subjects are available at several colleges and universities.
New entrants are trained on the job. They may work towards vocational qualifications such as NVQ's in glass processing.
The British Society of Scientific Glassblowers offers specialist qualifications.
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
In some firms it may be possible to advance to supervisory or management roles.
Skilled glassblowers may set up their own studio or workshop.
Some glassblowers move into related areas, such as glass engineering or design.
British Glass, 9 Churchill Way,
Chapeltown, Sheffield S35 2PY
Tel: 0114 290 1850
British Society of Scientific Glassblowers
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.