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The next generation outlines industry challenges

WCFMYP2015The brightest talent in the furnishing industry has outlined three challenges the industry faces, as the second Furniture Makers’ Company Young Professional Industry Experience programme ends.

Seven of the industry’s young talent took part in a three week programme where companies opened their doors and gave them an insight into their businesses. The group had the chance to visit and understand all areas of the furniture industry supply chain, learning about raw materials and components, the complexity of manufacturing, buying criteria, pricing, marketing and merchandising, through to consumer law, after sales and customer service.
The group made a joint presentation yesterday, outlining the key concepts they learned from the programme and how their ideas could be applied to their respective companies, which have nominated and sponsored them to take part in the course.
They identified three key challenges for our industry: to bring young people into the industry and keep skills alive; to balance the use of technology with hands-on skills and craftsmanship; and to promote the strength and quality of British manufacturing.
‘The Young Professionals Industry Experience represents the pinnacle of our education programme. It is thanks to our network of contacts that we are able to provide this unique and intensive programme during which the candidates are tasked with considering the challenges which will be faced by the industry in the future.
“We hope that our Young Professionals will help to tackle these challenges and become future leaders of our industry. This is a unique opportunity that only Furniture Makers’ Company, through our membership, is able to create and provide,’ says David Dewing, master of The Furniture Makers’ Company.
The scheme’s main sponsor is January Furniture Show. ‘This programme has been designed for aspiring young professionals and graduates who are progressing well through early employment – and we are delighted to play our part in helping them on their way,’ says Stephen Richards, January Furniture Show director.
The seven who took part are:
Sam Barnes, DFS service manager apprentice. He attends training courses at the DFS training centre and block release training at Hull College. At the end of his programme he will gain a Level 2 diploma in Furniture, Soft Furnishings and Interiors.
Andrew Blair, Andrew Muirhead & Son leather technologist. He has a Higher National Certificate in Business from City of Glasgow College, and a Leathersellers Certificate in Leather Science from University of Northampton. He joined Muirhead & Son in 2000.
Mark Burden, DFS live chat manager designate. He has a BSc (Hons) in Sport Management from Northumbria University and he joined DFS two years ago.
Jack Chivers, Ercol assistant technical designer. He has a degree in Furniture: Design and Craft from Bucks New University City, Guilds qualifications in Introduction to Welding Level 1 from Northampton College and Making and Installing Handcrafted Furniture Levels 1-3 from Moulton College. He joined Ercol just over a year ago.
Jose Formoso, Crofts & Assinder UK and European account manager. He has a degree in Law Studies from Havana University, and an NVQ Level 3: International Relationships from Instituto del Comercio Exterior. He joined Crofts & Assinder 18 months ago.
Ellie Mason, Howden Joinery Group graduate designer. She has a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design and a BA (Hons) in Product and Furniture Design from De Montfort University. She joined Howden in September 2014.
Rebecca Ransom Willis & Gambier, designer. She has a BA (Hons) in Furniture and Product Design from Nottingham Trent University. She joined Willis & Gambier a year ago.
L to R: Ellie Mason, Sam Barnes, Rebecca Ransom, WCFM master David Dewing, Jack Chivers, Jose Formoso, Andrew Blair and Mark Burden.