Diary of a diploma student: How did I get here?

At London Jewelery School we are often asked what it is like to do the Diploma in Creative Jewellery course. So this year we have invited diploma student Julie McKenzie to record her experiences in posts to the blog. First off, why she has embarked on the course.

julie profile cropWhen my son was born in 2007, after a 20 year career in the IT industry being responsible for $75m budgets, large scale IT projects, sales and services teams, I decided to take an extended career break. The plan was always to go back to my successful IT career once my son started school. However, after just 12 months back in the corporate world, it became very clear that my priorities and values in life had changed dramatically and I needed a complete rethink.

What could I do that would give me the opportunity to feel as if I was contributing financially but would also give me the flexibility to be around when my son finished school at the end of the day and be there in the school holidays?

Then one day someone asked: “If you could choose to do anything in the world, what is your passion and what would you do?”

Now that was a very good question.  I really had to think – yes I was very good at running a business for someone else, very efficient and organised but what would I really like to do?  I actually realised that if I had a choice I would love to do something creative and have something tangible for my efforts…. and wouldn’t it be great to be able to turn my efforts into a business which I could fit around family life.

With that thought in mind I decided to explore learning a completely new skill and that’s how I ended up at the London Jewellery School.

I have always loved silver jewellery so I looked for a course to gain some skills.  I wasn’t initially looking for a Diploma course but then I found the Creative Jewellery Diploma at the London Jewellery School. Not only did it cover the silversmithing modules I was looking for but it would also provide an opportunity to cover other jewellery methods such as beading, wire wrapping, metal clay,  fused glass, resin, stone setting, perspex etc. The course sounded perfect – so I enrolled to start January 2015.

jewellery diploma

The diploma course offers all the silversmithing technique I was looking for plus a range of other jewellery skills.

I should emphasise that I am a complete novice to jewellery making – I’ve made a pair of curtains in the past but that’s not quite the same. So the tutors may have a task on their hands – ‘old dogs new tricks’  is the phrase that comes to mind. But I’ll be sharing how it goes in future weeks.


  1. Posted February 2, 2015 at 12:44 pm | Permalink | Reply

    An inspiring story. As someone who made a career change to jewellery design after 16 years I can relate to your passion. I look forward to following your journey.

    • Julie McKenzie
      Posted February 3, 2015 at 8:03 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thank you Elizabeth –

  2. Posted March 4, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Really appreciated story!
    You did a good job!

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