Kirklees College fills local skills gap through brand-new Furniture Making apprenticeship


Man in hard hat operating a new CNC machine

Over the last couple of years, Kirklees College has been working closely with a range of employers in Dewsbury to identify local skills gaps in the furniture manufacturing sector. The result of this consultation project is the college’s new Level 2 Furniture Making apprenticeship with HSL (High Seat Ltd) and the first intake of apprentices are starting this October.

The apprenticeship offers two pathways, working towards qualifying as a wood machinist, or modern upholsterer. Both pathways will develop apprentices’ understanding of the furniture manufacturing process and where they fit into it, from selecting the right materials and hand-crafting pieces, through to meeting customer expectations and quality standards.

The apprentices will study at Kirklees College’s Brunel Construction Centre during their college hours, where a brand-new specialist CNC machine has just been installed to help train the budding furniture makers. It is hoped that the course will not only equip apprentices with specialist skills, but with a wide range of skills needed to work in a number of roles within the sector.

Steve Plumstead, Head of Faculty for Construction at Kirklees College said:

“It has been a pleasure working with HSL to develop the Furniture Making apprenticeship. We hope to generate a lot of interest in the apprenticeship and help kick-start many careers in this thriving local industry. Our specialist training facilities at Kirklees College will help support the apprentice’s learning and development of skills during their college hours and we will be here to support them throughout the course.”

Steve Radley, HR Business Partner at HSL Furniture has also played a pivotal role in getting the apprenticeship up and running. Regarding the course, Radley commented:

“HSL are delighted to be enrolling our 2023 intake of apprentices onto courses provided by Kirklees College. It is great there is now a local provider to meet the training requirements for our furniture manufacturing business.”

This announcement comes in perfect time for the beginning of Colleges Week 2023 and today’s particular theme of construction. Colleges Week is the Association of Colleges annual campaign to promote the fantastic work that goes on in the Further Education sector and Kirklees College will be celebrating by sharing case studies and good news stories from the college across our social media channels between now and 20 October.

To find out more about our construction apprenticeships and courses, go to https://www.kirkleescollege.ac.uk/subjects/construction/.

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