The Furniture Makers’ Company and the Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (FIESTA) are partnering on a new free service that will support businesses in the furniture and furnishing industry to close their skills gaps and take on apprentices with ease.

Launching this autumn, the Apprentice and Skills Plus Service will help companies recruit and retain new talent, upskill existing employees and act as a central resource for information, advice and guidance on apprenticeships. Natalie Cole has been appointed as skills plus coordinator and will be responsible for the management and development of the service, including signposting employers to approved training providers with access to funding.

“I am delighted to have this opportunity to work within the sector in such a meaningful role that aims to get more young people into the industry while supporting employers with the challenges of filling skills gaps in their businesses," says Natalie.

“It’s a great addition to the armoury of the sector to have a dedicated resource making connections between employers and training providers," adds Martin.

Visitors attending the National Bed Federation’s Bed Show on 26-27th September at the International Centre, Telford, will be able meet Natalie at The Furniture Makers’ Company’s stand at the exhibition.