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Furniture apprenticeships to provide bespoke training for next generation of craftspeople

New apprenticeships will train the next generation of bespoke furniture makers and furniture product developers

Today’s launch is welcomed by the UK furniture, bed and furnishings sector – which is made up of more than 8,000 companies contributing over £11 billion to the economy

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) has announced two exciting new apprenticeships for the furniture industry.

The first is a bespoke furniture maker, gaining the skills to create tables, chairs, cabinets, and office, kitchen, and bedroom furniture to meet individual customers’ requirements. Apprentices will work with wood, metals, glass, plastics, fabric, finishes and other relevant materials.

The other new apprenticeship will train future furniture product developers. They work on the design and rollout of new lines of furniture with manufacturing managers, engineers, purchasers, suppliers and customers.

The Institute’s Chief Executive, Sir Gerry Berragan, said:

“I am delighted that the bespoke furniture maker and new furniture product developer apprenticeships are now ready to train people of all ages to the high standards required by this important industry.” 

More than a quarter of a million jobs are dependent on the success of the UK’s furniture, bed and furnishings industry, with 118,000 jobs in manufacturing alone.

Jasper Heinrich, Head of Operations for leading British manufacturer of exquisite bespoke furniture, cabinetry and specialist joinery Bill Cleyndert & Company, was supportive of both new apprenticeships during their development process.

Jasper said:

“These apprenticeships will play an important role in producing the next generation of furniture craftspeople. There is a long and noble tradition of furniture making in this country and these apprenticeships will not only help to ensure the craft continues, but also that the training the apprentices receive meets the needs of the industry.”

Other employers that helped develop these new apprenticeships, with support from the Institute, include DFS, Mills and Scott, Simpsons, Travis Perkins, and Silentnight.

Furniture covers a wide range of products including: domestic interior chairs, tables and seating; cabinets and inbuilt storage; beds and mattresses; soft furnishings and upholstery; leisure and outdoor furniture; and commercial, office and residential fit-outs.

It operates within a diverse marketplace including houses, offices, hotels, schools and colleges, cruise liners, hospitals, restaurants, residential accommodation, stadia, airports and other public spaces.

A separate furniture manufacturer apprenticeship was launched back in 2016, following development with more than 60 employers ranging from Silent Night and Sweet Dreams to Rolls Royce and Artistic Upholstery Ltd. There is also a carpentry and joinery apprenticeship launched in February last year.

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