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News Article

​Furniture Manufacturer Apprenticeship Standard and Assessment Plan Gets Ministerial Approval

We are pleased to announce that the new Furniture Manufacturer Apprenticeship Standard and Assessment Plan which has been developed by employers has been approved and is available for delivery. The standard includes the following occupations:

  • General Furniture Manufacturer
  • Furniture CNC Specialist
  • Bed Manufacturer
  • Modern Upholsterer
  • Furniture Finisher
  • Fitted Furniture Installer
  • Furniture Restorer
  • Modern Furniture Service Repairer
  • Foam Convertor and Upholstery Cushion Interior Manufacturer
  • Wood Machinist

The apprenticeship standard and assessment plan has been published, which will replace current frameworks from 1st December 2016 as part of the Government's apprenticeship reform programme to make apprenticeships more rigorous and more responsive to employers. The apprenticeship standard and Assessment Plan are live here:

Michael Dingwall, Manufacturing Director at Harrison Spinks and Chair of the Steering Group said

As the furniture industry is so large and diverse the setting of the new standards has been a difficult job. Our steering group and working groups have had representation from across the industry, from SME’s to large scale manufacturers, and trying to ensure everyone had their say and the new standards covered everyone’s views has been somewhat of a challenge. We are so pleased that the Standard and Assessment Plan have been approved and perhaps more so that the approach we have taken now has the required backing.”

“What drove us on was the knowledge that apprenticeships are a good way of getting new people to learn a craft. Up until now there has been no formal apprenticeship that covers Bed Making, Service Repair or Foam Convertor and Upholstery Cushion Interior Manufacturer.”

Occupational Awards, who have provided support to the group, and will become the Registered Apprenticeship Assessment Organisation, said:

“We are delighted about this announcement as it is testimony to the dedication and hard work which the employer-led group has put into this exciting apprenticeship reform’, said Lisa Williamson, Managing Director. ‘The approval of the new Furniture Trailblazer standard marks a significant milestone for the furniture sector. We welcome this ground-breaking new approach to robust apprenticeships that the government and industry is taking and could not be more pleased with the industry-led design of this new standard. Congratulations to all involved. We would encourage all furniture employers to join the illustrious list of employers already involved’.

“As well as ensuring the future of the workforce there are some immediate and positive benefits for manufacturers – from their point of view the return on investment (ROI) is over £26 for every £1 invested*. A better trained workforce also links to succession planning, better skills and better products, less wastage, fewer mistakes and improved productivity. The final incentive, for larger manufacturers in particular, could be the planned introduction of a new levy on employers next year.”

The Steering Group have also developed supporting modules of assessment to support the delivery of the apprenticeship, these are available to download from the BFM website, the BFM have agreed to host this information on behalf of the industry:

About the Furniture Trailblazer Steering Group

The Furniture Trailblazer Steering Group was given the responsibility to redesign the apprenticeship standard by the Government. It includes representatives from: AMUSF, BCFA, Beta Group , Breasley, BFM, Buckingham Palace, Burnley College, City of Oxford College, Clinchplain, Confortex, Cornwall College, Designate, Dewar French Polishers Ltd, DFS, Drury Adams, Duresta, Fibreline, FIRA, Furniture Restoration & Conservation, GNG Foam, Home Improvements, ISM Networks, JKB Shop Fitting, KBBNTG, Lebus Upholstery Ltd, Mark Wilkinson Furniture, Nathan Furniture Ltd, National Bed Federation, North Lancs Training Group, PH Fillings, Proskills, Occupational Awards Limited, Recticel, REM UK Ltd, Senator International, Shire Beds, Silentnight Group, Harrison Spinks, Simpsons Furniture, Sofa Brands International, Steinhoff Manufacturing, Sylvan Enterprises, The Furniture Makers, VCF UK, Vitafoam, Webs, Wendy Shorter Interiors, West Dean College, William Cook Antiques, Windsor Castle, World Skills.

For more information please contact:

Lisa Williamson
Managing Director
Occupational Awards Limited

T: 01235 432 032