Education & Training
BABA is passionate about the advancement of blacksmithing, and encourages improved access to the craft at every level.
Whether you are interested in having a ‘one-off’ go at blacksmithing, taking it up as an amateur hobby or pursuing a full professional career, BABA can point you in the right direction.
The opportunities for training to be a professional blacksmith have never been as numerous and diverse, showing that blacksmithing, after many years in the doldrums, is once again being taken seriously as a recognised craft discipline and as a viable career option in the 21st century.
Most people these days probably won’t have had the opportunity to strike a piece of hot metal over an anvil before, so the first step is to find out if you really do like it, and if you have the potential to take it further. Consequently, with so many different options available, we would recommend that if you are thinking of becoming a blacksmith, you should take part in a short ‘taster’ course before committing to anything more formal. You can find details of blacksmithing schools and professional blacksmiths that offer such courses under Private Providers in the BABA Directory below. Many of these short courses are also suitable for those wishing to just to ‘have a go’ or to develop enough basic skills to be able to enjoy blacksmithing as a hobby.
Alternatively, you may wish to organise some work experience with a local blacksmith. You can find where you might be able to do this by contacting blacksmiths in your area listed in the BABA Directory below.
Should you wish to pursue some more formal training, then there are several options at both Further and Higher education level. These include year-long BTEC National Award, Certificate and Diploma courses that are offered by a number of colleges around the country, as well as a year-long block release course (intended for those with some forging experience) and a full three-year BA in Artist Blacksmithing. These last two are available only at Herefordshire College of Arts, home of the National School of Blacksmithing. You can find details of all these courses and where they are offered under Further & Higher Education providers listed in the BABA Directory below.
If you feel that blacksmithing is definitely for you, but college or university is not, then it is also possible to undertake an informal apprenticeship with a master blacksmith. Once again, we recommend using the BABA Directory to find someone in your area who could offer you an apprenticeship.
Fully accredited Modern Apprenticeships in blacksmithing will be available in the near future. We will have details on the website as soon as these are launched – so watch this space.
As well as establishing whether you really do like and/or could be any good at blacksmithing, getting a taste of the craft in one form or another will help you find out what the career opportunities are within the craft and what kind of income you can expect. It will help you discover the pros and cons of setting up on your own – as there is an awful lot more to it than simply hitting hot metal all day. It will also give you a clearer idea of what kinds of work there is a real market for, and which are simply no longer economically viable – no matter how fascinating you personally may find them.
If, after all this, you decide that blacksmithing really is for you, then in BABA you will find a rich source of information, advice, support and friendship, so the next thing you need to do is JOIN US!