Reference Number: ST0655

Details of standard

Occupation summary

This occupation is found in the furniture, furnishings and interiors manufacturing industry, this is a substantial growth industry for the UK.  The UK furniture, bed and furnishings manufacturing part of the industry is substantial. Over 8,000 companies contribute £11 billion to the country’s GDP.  In addition to this, there is a large market for contract and office furniture.

The broad purpose of the occupation is to manufacture furniture and furniture components, such as desk lids, doors, casings or legs, using Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) machinery to perform precision tasks.  This includes setting, loading and proving (testing) CNC programmes to produce furniture and/or components, setting up, operating and maintaining CNC furniture production machinery, improving CNC processes to produce furniture efficiently and finding and rectifying faults with furniture production machinery.  Advanced Furniture CNC Technicians also produce and maintain jigs and templates to produce furniture components and create and modify programmes for producing furniture using Computer Aided Design (CAD).

In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with a range of colleagues including production/manufacturing managers, quality technicians, production leaders, designers, product developers, training coordinators, production operatives and engineers.

Advanced Furniture CNC Technicians can work in a range of environments from small workshops to large factories and may be required to work various shift patterns.  An employee in this occupation will be responsible for producing machined components to meet specifications, maintaining quality and safety standards and maintaining equipment.  They may also be responsible for a team, coaching, mentoring, training and developing individuals depending on the size of the organisation they work in.

Typical job titles

Typical job titles include Furniture CNC Machinist, Furniture CNC Programmer, Furniture CNC Operator, Furniture CNC Manager, Furniture CNC Supervisors, Furniture CNC Team Leader, Furniture CNC Wood Machinist, CNC Wood Machinist, CNC Setter.

Occupation duties


Criteria for measuring performance


Duty 1 load and prove (test) CNC programmes to produce furniture and/or furniture components to specification.

delivered in line with specifications and within agreed timescales

K1, K2, K3, K4, K5

S1, S2, S3, S4

B1, B2

Duty 2 set up, operate and maintain CNC furniture production machinery

delivered in line with specifications and within agreed timescales

K6, K7, K8, K9, K10

S5, S6, S7, S8

B1, B2, B3

Duty 3 improve CNC processes to produce furniture efficiently

delivered in line with industry standards, agreed timescales and costs

K11, K12


B4, B6

Duty 4 work safely at all times following relevant legislation and regulations ensuring self and others safety

complying with relevant health and safety legislation and regulations

K13, K14

S10, S11


Duty 5 produce and maintain jigs and templates to produce furniture components

delivered in line with specifications and within agreed timescales




Duty 6 create and modify programmes for producing furniture using Computer Aided Design (CAD) software

delivered in line with specifications and within agreed timescales

K16, K17, K18, K1

S13, S14, S15

B1, B6

Duty 7 Identify and rectify faults with furniture production machinery.

delivered in line with agreed industry standards

K19, K20


B2, B7

Duty 8 lead, manage and coach teams and develop own skills to ensure effective results

delivered in line with agreed standards

K21, K22

S17, S18, S19, S20

B8, B9, B10

Duty 9 keep and maintain accurate records/information and share appropriately

delivered in line with agreed timescales and communicated clearly and succinctly




Duty 10 sset tooling and equipment, accurately measure tooling specification, input and adjust tooling data

delivered in line with specifications

K24, K25, K26


B1, B2, B6

Duty 11 read, understand and interpret specification drawings to ensure components meet specification

delivered in line with agreed timescales and quality standards

K10, K27



Duty 12 check furniture and components produced meet quality standards and specifications working with minimal supervision

delivered in line with specifications and within agreed timescales

K10, K28


B9, B11, B12



K1 tool compensation for the differences in length between the tools assumed during programming and the tools to be used for actual machining.

K2 tool data including geometric characteristics, composition and usage

K3 parameters of machines including type, function and how to read and set them, safety and guarding of machinery used

K4 optimisation for best yield of materials

K5 how to set, load, prove (test) and optimise of furniture CNC programmes

K6 technical processes, such as capability, awareness of manufacturing procedures, helping to resolve furniture production problems, breakdowns and defining operating procedures

K7 tooling and operational process including material technology and furniture manufacturing equipment

K8 furniture industry materials and modern and traditional furniture manufacturing methods including wood and timber, manmade composite materials including plywood, MDF (Medium Density Board) and MFC (Melamine Faced Chipboard), veneers, laminates and edging materials, by hand or machinery

K9 how to maintain furniture CNC/NC (Computer Numerically Controlled/Numerically Controlled) machinery

K10 acceptable tolerances of items manufactured from furniture specifications for example allowances for deviation from norm and defect criteria

K11 process improvement techniques for example DRIVE (Define, Review, Identify, Verify, Execute), process mapping, DMAIC (Define, Measure, Analyse, Improve, Control), Statistical Process Control (SPC) and Simulation

K12 lean manufacturing techniques, for example, Kaizen, Lean, Just in time and 5S

K13 health, safety and environmental management and risk assessment for example Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH), Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations (PUWER), Health And Safety At Work Act (HASAWA), Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations (RIDDOR) and manual handling

K14 Safe Systems of Work, the formal procedures for safe methods and procedures adopted during work activities, for relevant processes, including use and maintenance of machinery used

K15 how to produce and maintain jigs and holding devices

K16 how to develop and modify furniture CAD drawings in CNC production

K17 machine editor software for programme production

K18 machine tooling used for example drills, blades or profile cutters

K19 machine fault finding techniques and programming fault finding including differences between simple faults which can be rectified and those that required maintenance team for resolution

K20 common error codes for furniture CNC machinery used

K21 grievance and discipline procedures and conflict management techniques

K22 coaching, mentoring and team development techniques such as the GROW model (Goal, Current Reality, Options (or Obstacles) Will (or Way Forward))

K23 where to send products for next process and how to fill production tickets with accurate information

K24 measuring devices such as Vernier callipers and height gauges

K25 standard tooling on relevant machinery

K26 how to run test pieces to ensure tooling data has been entered correctly

K27 where to find relevant furniture specifications and drawings

K28 product quality standards you need to meet for furniture products produced


S1 set tool compensation data in furniture CNC programmes

S2 set tool data and parameters in furniture CNC programmes

S3 optimise machinery for the best yield of materials

S4 set, load, prove and optimise furniture CNC programmes

S5 manage resources effectively including raw materials and time

S6 select tooling suitable for use with materials being processed for example different varieties of wood

S7 set up and operate furniture CNC/NC (Computer Numerically Controlled/Numerically controlled) machinery using appropriate safety measures and guards

S8 maintain furniture CNC/NC machinery within limits of responsibility for example lubricating machinery, checking fluid levels, keeping machinery clean

S9 apply improvement techniques to furniture manufacturing processes for example using different tooling, aggregate heads, tandem loading or tandem loading

S10 work safely at all times, wearing appropriate PPE, adhering to COSHH records and completing health and safety records and reports

S11 follow Safe Systems of work for the relevant machining processes

S12 produce and maintain jigs and holding devices to ensure sufficient workpiece vacuum

S13 develop and modify furniture CAD drawings to suit CNC processes

S14 read and interpret furniture specifications and drawings

S15 use editor software to modify or create furniture CNC programmes

S16 rectify simple machine faults for example fast running, blunt tooling, burn marks or incorrect tool compensation

S17 manage self and others and influence teams to achieve objectives

S18 apply coaching, mentoring and team development techniques such as the GROW model

S19 develop own skills to improve furniture CNC performance

S20 train others to use machinery safely to company standards

S21 record information required accurately for example production records

S22 set tooling in various holders for example HSK (hollow taper shank), tribos and shrinkfit

S23 able to check furniture products meet quality standards and furniture specifications


B1. thorough and accurate when accomplishing furniture CNC tasks

B2. have a safety-first attitude, ensuring the safety of self and others in a furniture CNC machinery environment

B3. shows integrity, aims for excellence and manages time effectively

B4. strives for improvement in furniture manufacturing processes

B5. is professional, demonstrates motivation to succeed and is organised

B6. maintain focus and concentration during CNC activities

B7. an enquiring mind and be, keen to understand how things work

B8. sets an example to others, is fair, consistent and reliable

B9. takes personal responsibility for meeting objectives of the team and business

B10. be flexible in changing environment and demands

B11. demonstrates a mature attitude and has a sense of responsibility.

B12. is able to work with minimal supervision


 English and Maths qualifications

Apprentices without level 2 English and maths will need to achieve this level prior to taking the End-Point Assessment.  For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and maths minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. A British Sign Language (BSL) qualification is an alternative to the English qualification for those whose primary language is BSL. 

Additional details

Occupational Level: 3
Duration (months): 24


This standard will be reviewed after three years.

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