Jobs search: try your luck as a diamond cutter?

A shortage of skilled staff is a constant challenge for the Antwerp diamond industry.  In order to alleviate the problem the sector is now offering free training courses for people who pass an entrance test.

The diamond industry is joining forces with the municipal authorities and the Flemish employment agency VDAD to offer three month courses for prospective diamond cutters.  After a six month internship successful candidates can set to work.

Margaux Donckier of the Antwerp World Diamond Centre: "The largest and most exceptional stones are always brought to Antwerp to be cut.  We've developed technology that automatises 90% of the cutting process, but the final touches require a human hand."

The human touch ensures the diamond sparkles and this is why Antwerp needs cutters.

Margaux Donckier: "Numerous are those interested.  So, we've organised an entrance test.  Candidates are tested to make sure they have 3D insight, are handy and precise."

Eight candidates are set to start.  Antwerp boasts 400 diamond cutters but many are approaching retirement age.  The intention is to organise this as an annual course. Margaux Donckier: "We're not selecting more candidates than there are vacancies to ensure everybody has a job."