When Roger was presented with an honorary degree by Birmingham City University (in 2019) he addressed graduates about the importance of finding a life’s work and the role of mentors. Out of this speech came the idea for an ongoing vocational partnership with BCU, by providing annual placement for a single student in their final year of the university’s horology degree.

03 December, 2021

This year, Roger was delighted to welcome Benjamin Lerigo, a 3rd year (final) year horology student at the BCU’s School of Jewellery to our workshops.

Roger said; “When I gave my acceptance speech to the BCU graduands in 2019, I referred to them as “our creative future” and that’s something I believe in very strongly; perhaps even more so since co-founding the Alliance of British Watch and Clock Makers. Our recent Bellwether highlighted that the key challenge and driver for growth is encouraging new talent into our sector. Within the structured approach we have developed with BCU, it is wonderful to be able to put my original words into practice.”

BCU student, Benjamin Lerigo commented; “As a student, it provided a perfect insight into the industry, as well as a clear representation of what can be expected of us as watchmakers.”

During his time at Roger W. Smith Ltd, along with spending time with Roger, Benjamin worked under the one-on-one guidance of our watchmaker Ed Ashby.

Ed Ashby mentors Benjamin
Ed Ashby mentors Benjamin

Benjamin further remarked; “Ed, as well as the rest of the watchmakers working for Roger seem to be a perfect extension of Roger himself; an extremely high sense of pride in their work is evident. And everything that I have seen them produce embodies perfection. This has motivated me to continue to strive for the best in my own education and career, as well as picking up some extremely useful making techniques. My time with Roger has really highlighted the characteristics that I believe George Daniels must of seen in him all those years ago!”

Jeremy Hobbins, the BA (Hons) Horology Course Director at BCU added; “Opportunities for our students to experience “real world” work environments offer a unique and important window to potential future career pathways. They return enthused and excited to share what they have learnt with their peers, and the placements at Roger W Smith Ltd., draw so much interest, and inspire those who are lucky enough to take part.”

In conclusion, Roger said; “The nature of our work means our placements are limited to one student each year, especially as we want them to provide a genuine enhancement for the student’s vocational learning. Nevertheless, I’m delighted we can play our part and wholeheartedly encourage other British watch and clock makers to engage with our educational establishments. Students are very much our future.”