The Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (FIESTA) is has announced that the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA) has approved five new Level 3 apprenticeship standards for the furnishing industry.

The standards, which were approved in December 2018, are Bespoke Furniture Maker, Advanced Furniture CNC Technician, Advanced Upholsterer, Fitted Furniture Design Technician and New Furniture Product Developer.

The development of the standards was co-funded by the British Furniture Manufacturers Association and The Furniture Makers’ Company and follow the launch of the Level 2 apprenticeship standards in 2016. Both sets of standards have been written with industry under the government’s Trailblazer initiative.

FIESTA hopes that the new apprenticeship standards will be available for use by May 2019 once End Point Assessment plans have been developed.

Gary Baker, chairman of FIESTA

Gary Baker, FIESTA chairman, says: “We are very pleased that the IFA has approved these new standards, which were identified by the furnishing industry Trailblazer group as the apprenticeships in highest demand. After the successful introduction of the Level 2 standards, we’re excited by the prospect of training a host of new apprentices at the Level 3 standard.”

FIESTA is now calling for industry to take part in a survey to ascertain demand for higher apprenticeships.

Higher and degree apprenticeships are available at Levels 4 to 7. They combine work with study and may include a work-based, academic or combined qualification relevant to the industry. 

Levels 4 and 5 are equivalent to a higher education certificate/diploma or a foundation degree. 

Level 6 is equivalent to a bachelor’s degree and Level 7 is equivalent to a master’s degree. Typically, higher apprentices study part-time at college, university or with a training provider. 

The survey, which will close on 28th February 2019, has been produced on behalf of FIESTA members, trade associations from across the UK furnishing industry.

The survey is available to access here.

Gary added: “It’s important for industry to realise that we can only develop standards when we have established demand from employers. If there is a higher apprenticeship standard required, it is essential that industry lets us know by completing the survey.”

More information about the Level 3 apprenticeships can be found here:

Bespoke Furniture Maker
Advanced Furniture CNC Technician
Advanced Upholsterer
Fitted Furniture Design Technician
New Furniture Product Developer

FIESTA membership

FIESTA members include: The Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF), the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA), the Association of British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM), The Furniture Makers’ Company (FMC), the Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom Specialists Association (KBSA), The Kitchen Education Trust (TKET) and the National Bed Federation (NBF).