The Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (FIESTA) is finishing 2019 on a high after confirming that eight level 2 manufacturing apprenticeship pathways will be renewed in 2020, following much campaigning by the trade body.

Back in July the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE), the controlling authority on apprenticeship standards, warned that the current Furniture Manufacturer standard would need reviewing before the end of 2019 as it was no longer fit for purpose.  

This meant that the existing single standard with pathways would need to be replaced by separate standards for each specialist occupation if government funded skills training is to be maintained.

Due to a lack of uptake and concerns surrounding funding, FIESTA had planned on rationalising the current standard, phasing out five pathways and creating four new level 2 furniture pathways: 

  1. Fitted Furniture Installer
  2. Furniture Manufacturer
  3. Modern Upholsterer
  4. Wood Machinist (incorporating Furniture CNC Specialist)

In October FIESTA undertook a campaign to win support from manufacturers for the other standards and has since received backing from bed manufacturer Silentnight and sofa manufacturer and retailer DFS. Both companies will support the development of the Bed Manufacturer standard and the Modern Furniture Service Repairer standard, respectively.

Furthermore, the Modern Upholsterer standard is to be reviewed with the support of apprenticeship experts Achieve & Partners. FIESTA has also received industry support for the review and development of the Furniture Restorer standard. 

Gary Baker, FIESTA chairman, said: “The substantial steps successfully undertaken by FIESTA means that nine of the existing 10 pathways will be developed into eight standards, with only the Foam Converter pathway ceasing to exist. We would like to thank the companies and individuals who have heeded our calls for support. I’m very excited about the developments we will be able to announce next year as FIESTA starts to get traction and add real value to the industry.” 

The news of the renewal of the level 2 pathways follows the completion and imminent launch of the level 3 apprenticeship standards in New Furniture Product Developer, Advanced CNC Technician, Bespoke Furniture Maker and Advanced Upholsterer.