Six wounded, injured or sick (WIS) armed forces veterans will be taught traditional and modern bindery techniques as part of a collaborative project between the Printing Charity and Bound by Veterans.
All of the selected participants will undertake a new, internationally recognised Level 3 City & Guilds bookbinding qualification, having already completed Levels 1 and 2. Their tuition will be overseen by Bound by Veterans, formerly known as Wiltshire Barn in Woodborough, and funded by the Crawley-based Printing Charity.
Taking place over 12 months and scheduled to start before the end of 2017, once funding is cleared, the project will be the first of its kind. The discharged veterans will learn a range of skills, such as leather and gold tooling work.
“This qualification will be extremely valuable to veterans to get into a mindset that gets them ready to return to work,” said Bound by Veterans founder Jonathan Powell.
“They are spread widely across the country but are coming to stay locally when they attend the tuition. We hope they enjoy a successful 12 months and come out the other end with the skills, knowledge and confidence to go out into the world."
Bound by Veterans gets its supplies from several UK distributors, including Stockport-based Ratchford for binding cloth, J Hewit & Sons leather manufacturers in Edinburgh and Harmattan Leather in Rushden.
Following the initial trial, the Printing Charity indicated it would be looking into continuing to fund the course into the future depending on its success.
“Bindery as a skill needs conserving and we see an opportunity to help do that through this project,” said Printing Charity chief executive Neil Lovell. “It is valuable for the veterans because the more skills they have, the more well-equipped they are for the working world.
“Over the 12 months they will be exposed to many bindery-related workplaces and make plenty of connections to help them get a foothold. We hope to be flexible and cater to what is needed as the course develops and to keep this core skill alive.”