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Contract Furniture Sales Jobs - PDF - PDF


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Northern Ireland

Terry Watts
Welcome to the Furniture, Furnishings & Interiors introduction booklet. This brief
guide will provide you with some basic information to help you decide if the
Furniture, Furnishings & Interiors (FFI) sector is one that you would like to work in.

The businesses in this sector create products for the domestic, office and
contract markets. The FFI industry provides many employees the opportunity
to develop long and varied careers with many individuals choosing to master a
range of skills.

Don’t assume that people advising/helping you with careers know everything
about this sector and the kinds of jobs available. Let them see the booklet
too! The Proskills careers website, contains more
information on:

	   •	Career	progression,	sector	jobs,	skills	and	experience	required	
	   •	Local	employers	company	profiles	and	individual	case	studies
	   •	Qualifications	and	training	

There are many rewarding and well-paid careers in this sector. At the back of
this booklet you’ll find a career progression chart designed to help you plot your
career development. If you find that the Furniture, Furnishings & Interiors industry
is not for you, why not take a look at some of Proskills other career introduction
booklets	for	the	Building	Products,	Coatings,	Extractives,	Glass,	Glazed	Ceramics,	
Paper and Print industries.
This is a brief guide to the Furniture, Furnishings and Interior sector. The booklet
will help you decide if this job sector is one you would like more information on.

Welcome page                                                              3

Sector Statistics (2008)                                                  6

An introduction to the Furniture, Furnishings and Interiors sector        7

Working in Furniture Manufacturing                                        9

Supply and Demand                                                         10

Jobs in the Furniture, Furnishings and Interior sector                    11

Furniture	Manufacturing	and	the	Environment	                              18

The	Qualifications	valued	by	Furniture,	Furnishing	and	Interior		         19
sector employers

Where the Diplomas fit                                                    20

Essential	Skills	                                                         22

Employee	Case	Studies	                                                    24

Example	Career	Progression	Routes	                                        26
Furniture, Furnishings and Interior sector
statistics 2008                                                                      6     An introduction to the Furnitur
                                                                                           and Interiors sector
                                                                                                                          e, Furnishings
                                                               h indicates furniture
Of the 150,000 people employed in the UK FFI industry, researc
and furnishing produc tion accounts for 75% of all jobs.                                                                     segmented into the following three
                                                                                          The FFI industr y is traditionally
                                                               management,                sub-sectors:
Administration, sales and design account for a further 15% and
                                       tion make up the remaining 10%.                                                                     through retail outlets
together with warehousing and distribu                                                    Domestic          Ser ving the public directly
                                                                                                                                             treatments and
                                                                                          Office            Desks, seating, tables, window
                                                                                                            other items for the office env
   Other jobs within the industry                                     information                                                                             h as
                                     ing, finance, human resources,                                         Furniture and Furnishings for
                                                                                                                                          public areas suc
   can include; buying, merchandis                      and logistics which means         Contract
                                  relations, operations                                                     hotels and airports
   technology, marketing, public
   there is someth ing for everyone at all levels.
                                                                       those in
                                      150,000 in the UK with 5,500 of
   •	 The industry employs around
       Northern Ireland                                                                                                                                            ich	have	a	
                                                                                            Each	of	these	sub-sectors	manufacturers	a	variety	of	products	wh
   •	    The UK FFI Industry has a £10 billio
                                              n turnover                                    major	impact    	on	our	quality	of	life.	The	products	they	create	can	be	designed
                                                                                 r          for their functionality, for their looks, for comfort or any combination of the
                                            and furnishings in the UK are ove                                                                                        s industry
    •	   Total sales for domestic furniture                                                 three. Similar to other sectors, the Furniture, Furnishings and Interior
         £5 billion per year                                                                has a number     of different product groups, these groups are:
                                          panies in the UK
    •	   There are circa 20,000 FFI com
                                              r	£1.1	billion	worth	of	export	bu            Product Group       Examples of Products
    •	    It	is	responsible	for	producing	ove
           from the UK                                                                     Upholstered         Settees, fireside, easy chairs, convertables and unit
                                            ce are over 45 years of age                    Products            section seating
    •	     Around 25% of the total workfor
                                                                                           Bedroom             Storage (wardrobes, dressing tables, cabinets, chests
                                              kforce is aged under 25                                          of drawers), unit and built in storage
    •	     Only around 12% of the total wor
                                                                                           Kitchen             Storage (wall units, cupboards) and built-in units
                                                                                                               (base and sink units) cimices, pelmets, work surfaces,
                                                                                                               plinths etc
                                                                                           Dining	Room/        Seating and tables, wall storage, sideboards, dressers,
                                                                                           Living	Room         bookcases, cocktail and china cabinets, coffee and
                                                                                                               occasional tables, television and entertainment cabinets

                                                                                            Beds and           Upholstered bases for mattresses, divans, wooden or
                                                                                            Bedding            metal bed ends, bedsteads, divan headboards and
                                                                                                               bed heads, bunk beds, mattress supports and
                                                                                            Soft               Blinds, curtains, valances, swags and tails, pelmets,
                                                                                            Furnishings        bedspreads, bed base valances, four poster bed
                                                                                                               curtains and draper y, bed corona curtains and
                                                                                                               draper y, table covers, cushion covers
An introduction to the Furniture,
Furnishings and Interiors sector
(continued)                                                                           8
                                                                                                  Working in Furniture Manufac
                                                                                                                               turing                                               9
                                                                                                                                                                     hip, which can lead to
                                                               stries fall into the                                              the industry: Via an Apprentices
                                     ishings and Interiors indu                                There are three ways to get into                              ployers	who	can	often	look	
Job rolls within the Furniture, Furn                                                                                            areers.	Directly	through	em
                                                                                               a	range	of	exciting	specialist	c                              and perform different tasks
following product groups:                                                                                               develop a broader range of skills
                                                                                               for people that want to                                           ualifications	at	degree	
                                       Furniture	                                                                               n	(FE/HE),	which	can	result	in	q
     Cabinet	Making/Hand	Crafted	                                                              every	day.	Via	Further	Educatio                                      iness skills needed to
•	                                                                                                                               D) level. This helps teach the bus
•	   Designer                                                                                  or Higher National Diploma (HN                                 colleges and universities
                                         ch Polisher)                                                                             s. There are many training
•	   Finishing/Polishing (including Fren                                                        manage or run your own busines
                                       embly/Installation)                                      across the UK which can  offer relevant
•	   Production (Manufacturing/Ass
•	   Restoration
•	   Soft Furnishing
•	   Upholstery                                                                                       Operational
•	   Wood Machinist
                                                                                                      Furniture manufacture can be completed in small workshops or in large
                                                                                                      factories where large, fast moving, automated machinery is used. Soft
                                                                            pportunity	to	
Each	of	these	product	areas	employs	individuals	who	have	the	o                                        Furnishing	and	Craft	Upholstery	workshops	are	generally	smaller	units	
grow	with	the	company	and	become	highl             y	experienced	within	their	career.	The	            employing multi-skilled staff that can provide comprehensive training in the
                                                                        of work based or
relevant training can be accomplished through a wide range                                            chosen discipline. Manufacturing work within workshops and factories can
college	based      	qualifications.	These	are	explained	further	on	in	this	booklet.                   require	reasonable	physical	fitness,	due	to	the	amount	of	standing	and	lifting	
                                                                       individual customer.
Some FFI manufacturers can create bespoke products for an                                             involved. Within the workshops, a wide range of basic tools can be used
Some may specialise in producing          furniture and furnishings e.g. for cruise ships,            including; saws, hammers, needles, as well as small hand held electrical
                                                                        produced for
whilst others develop new ranges of furniture that will be mass                                       appliances for sanding, fabric cutting and pressing. In the large factories, which
sale	to	the	general	public.	Either	way,	all	products	need	t       o	be	designed	and	                  tend to offer more Apprenticeships, the work may also involve control of large
manufactured	to	a	consistently	high	standard	and	quality.                                             fast	moving	machinery.	Some	of	this	machinery	can	be	quite	noisy	and	dust	
                                                                     nies that employ less            extraction	systems	are	required	due	to	wood	cutting	and	shaping	tasks	which	
 In the UK around 75% of the FFI businesses are micro compa                                           is performed at speed. Whether you work for one of the smaller employers
                                                                     that employ many
 than 10 staff. However, there are also some large businesses                                         that make up around 75% of the UK FFI industry, the larger employers or you
                                                                              ol	Furniture	
 hundreds	of	staff.	Large	companies	within	the	industry	include;	Erc                                  are self employed, health and safety rules are vitally important and they must
 Limited,	Havelock	Europa,	H       ypnos,	Mereway	and	the	Morris	Furniture	Group.
                                                                                                      be	followed	at	all	times.	Working	in	the	production	side	of	the	industry	requires	
                                                                            t, UK furniture
 With globalisation and the growth of businesses using the Interne                                    good hand–eye coordination. The ability to use tools effectively, team working
 manufacturers are now competing with compa             nies that manufacture products                skills	and	a	quality	driven	approach	are	also	highly	valued.		
                                                                        has led to high
  overseas, where overheads can often be much cheaper. This
  levels	of	imported	fur   niture	from	countries	outside	Europe,	forcing	many	FFI	                    Supervisory and management
                                                                         h to develop new
  businesses to adapt their business models and invest in researc
  materials and access new markets. Others          have moved into restoration work to               Once	knowledge	and	experience	has	been	gained	in	production	
                                                                              forecasts show
  secure jobs and maintain growth and business order levels. Trade                                    some employees then move into training, leadership, health and safety
  the	UK	industry	is	expected	to	grow	as	demand	for	new	                                              or	quality	management	positions.		These	roles	require	a	blend	of	production	
   housing	continues	to	increase	and	refurbishment	orders	are	also	                                   knowledge, good communication skills and the ability to use computers for
   to increase sales.                                                                                 tasks such as report writing and stock management. There are also sales and
                                                                       now training their             marketing	positions	that	require	knowledge	of	both	raw	materials	and	the	
   As part of these processes many furniture manufacturers are                                        manufacturing processes and business administration roles.
   staff	in	different	disciplines	so	they	can	work	more   	flexibly	and	complete	different	
                                                                           illed and capable
   tasks. This has resulted in many FFI employees becoming multi-sk                                   Above this level are the senior managers, who need to be able to inspire staff
   of	completing	more	t     han	one	professional	task.	Some	examples	of	how	this	works	               and ensure business goals are always understood by all employees. Their work
                                                                        Machining or Soft
   are Frame Makers who have originally been trained in Wood                                          is driven by company plans and it involves ensuring that production targets are
   Furnishers starting their careers as Sewing     Machinists.                                        constantly met.
Supply and Demand

                                                                      10                Jobs in the Furniture, Furnish
                                                                                        Interior sector
                                                                                                                       ings and
      Supply                Example	jobs	
                           in the Furniture,             Demand
                             Furnishings &                                           Cabinet Maker/Hand Crafted
                                Interiors             Product Demand:                                                                                      with your hands, you
  Raw Materials:                                                                                                     you have to be good at working
                                industr y             Domestic Furniture             To complete this type of work                              you have to understand designs
                                                                                                                           power tools and
                                                                                     need to be able to use hand held                        important, as you will need to
 Fabric & Trimmings                                Supplying Furniture and                              wings. Maths skills are also very
                                                         Furnishings                 and technical dra                                                    re	are	no	fixed	minimum	
      Webbing                                                                                                            d	possibly	costs.	However,	the
                               Designer                                              out	quantities,	measurements	an                                         r.		That	said,	GCSEs	
         Fillings                                  Dining	Rooms	-	cabinets,	                                           ded	to	become	a	cabinet	make
          Glass                                                                      entry	levels	of	qualification	nee                         can work hard and achieve goa
                                                 chairs, tables, blinds, curtains,                                      as they prove you
                                                                                      are valued by many employers,                                             et	o f	foundation	skills,	
         Metal                                                                                                           s	also	provide	you	with	a	strong	s
                           Wood Machinist           Lounge - chairs, settees,         Many	school	based	qualification                                                 	begun.	Cabinet	
                                                 occassional tables, cabinets,                                        related   	skills	once	your	employment	has
          Satin                                                                       which	help	you	develop	work	                                    manufacture.
                                                 blinds, window drapery, loose                                           p fitting or other furniture
Hardware e.g. Screws,                                                                 makers can work on kitchen, sho
                             Assembler of         covers, cushions, fabric wall
tacks, staples, handles                                                                                                                              rses. These include
                             Frame Maker                    covering                                                  a number of work related cou
                                                                                      You can gain relevant skills on                                   h	day	release	to	
                                                                                                                        ns	(NVQs)	-	often	taught	throug
       Production                                     Contract	Furniture              National	Vocational	Qualificatio
                                                                                                                       (online modules).
   Processes and                                    Supplying furniture for:          college and distance learning
                             Cabinet	Maker
       Equipment                                     Hotels - beds, dressers,
 e.g . Wood machines                                wardrobes, bars, tables,                                                                     	cabinet	
   Computer	Aided	                                                                                                 d	courses	that	are	taken	by
                                                    panelling blinds, curtains,       Some	examples	of	work	relate
      Design	(CAD)               Polisher
                                                    drapes, bed treatments,           makers are:
   Computer	Aided	                                           cushions                                          mmes with National Vocatio
 Manufacture	(CAM)                                                                    •	 Apprenticeship progra                    nd	Installing	Furniture
                                                  Hospitals - beds, chairs, tables                                   	in	Making	a
                                 Finisher                                                Qualification	(NVQ)	Level	2
         Sprayers                                                                                                               Furniture	and	Furnishings
                                                     etc. Stage and window            •	 NVQs	in	S upporting	the	Production	of	
     Hand Tools e.g.                                          curtains.
 Hammer, screwdriver
                                 Restorer             Schools	and	Colleges	-	
         Utilities                                 tables, chairs, cabinets etc.
                                                   Stage and window curtains
  Electricity,	Gas	Water
                                  Cutter           Nursing Homes - chairs, beds,
                                                     tables	etc.	Curtains,	bed	
                                                       treatments, cushions.
                                                    Shops - shelving, counters,
                                                     tables, chairs, desks etc

                              Soft Furnishings        Restaurants	and	Public	
                                Maker e.g           Houses - bars, stools, tables,
                                                       chairs, blinds, curtains,
                                                          pelmets, Office
                                                      Supplying Furniture for:
                               Mattress Maker          Offices including home
                                                       working - desks, chairs,
                                                      workstations, bookshelves,
                                                           curtains, pelmets.
Designer                                                                 12
                                                                                             (including French Polisher)
                                                                   d plan, providing
Before any new furniture products are manufactured, a detaile
information	such	as	material	use,	size	 and	functionality	has	to	be	created.	These	                                                                                it a smooth finish and
                                                                                                                            prepare and treat wood to give
plans are developed by designers, who can work in offices and
                                                                    production           Furniture finishers and polishers                                         for finishing items such
                                                                                                                            ural timber. They are responsible
areas. When creating plans for a new product there      are many factors that a          bring out the beauty of the nat                                    of drawers, wall units, kitchen
                                                                 look, a designer has        dining tables and chairs,  lounge suites, cabinets, chests
designer must consider; as well as how a finished product will                           as                                                                    ready for sale. They may
                                                                                                                           shop fittings to ensure they are
to consider cost and availability of materials, the products functions (customer         cabinets, musical instruments,                                             dings.
                                                                                                                                	doors	or	wall	fittings	in	old	buil
 requirements	and	intended	use)	and	also	safety	issues.	                                 also	work	on	fixed	timbers	such	as
                                                                                                                                                                     inting method,
                                                                                                                                out using the pressure spray-pa
The plans drawn up by a designer have to be approved by
                                                             management before            Most furniture polishing is carried                     lications are also used. A knowle
                                                                                                                                er machine app
any produc  tion can begin. The designs created can initially be sketche
                                                                           d by           although hand polishing and oth                                       s	requir  ed.		Some	furniture	
                                                  	programmes,	known	widely	                                               d	surfaces,	metals	and	plastics	i
hand	or	developed	using	Computer	Aided	Design                                             of	stains,	sanding,	timber	base                                             ipment	and	guns.	
                                                                  	the	decision	                                            ishe  rs	using	low	pressure	spray	equ
as	CAD.		Prototypes	and	models	may	then	be	created	to	help	in                             polishers	specialise	as	spray	fin
making proces   ses before production is agreed. Management decisions depen                                                                                      efficient fume and
                                                       the availability of materials,                                       k in a factory environment with
upon factors such as production costs, business plans,                                    Furniture polishers tend to wor                                        e	basic	processes	in	
                                                              competition from                                               nch	polishers	carry	out	the	sam
current orders and market conditions created by trends and                                dust	extraction	equipment.	Fre                                       in small units carrying out
                                                                                                                             finishing it. They tend to work
other businesses.                                                                         preparing the wood and then
                                                                                          specialised hand polishing.
                                                             s and some also take
Designers can also be tasked with improving current design
part in production proces ses, making sure the furniture created matches their
original plans.
                                                                 for a ‘one-off’ order
Products can be developed for mass market production or
to	cover	a	spe  cial	project	or	individual	client	request	e.g.	a	bespoke	design	of	
                                                                    to create products
soft furnisher. Designers are often given guidelines and asked
with specific functions using limited  materials. To accomplish this they need to
                                                                      greater their
develop their knowledge about a wide range of materials. The
knowle  dge	and	experience	the	better	their	abilities.
Production (Manufacturing/
Assembling/Installation for Kitchens,
Furniture, Furnishings, Blinds and Shutters)                                   14
                                                                          of manufactured
As a production worker you could be helping to make any kind
goods – from kitchen tables to soft furnishings. The       job can be very varied;
                                                                                                                                                                             ith	knowledge	
                                                                           	In	many	                                                   skills	and	techniques	together	w
the	work	may	be	heavy	or	light,	quite	routine	or	very	specialised.	                               These	jobs	require	a	wide	set	of	                                     from restoring parts to
                            may be operating machinery – setting it up, controlling                                                       its history. The work ranges
manufacturing jobs you                                                                            about furniture manufacture and                                       making replacement
                                                                             	be	required	to	                                   es of furniture, which can include
it	and	supplying	it	with	the	material	or	components.		You	may	also                                completely rebuilding piec                                              an	earn	between	£20,000	
                                                                                                                                      xperience,	furniture	restorers	c
assemble the product or pack it.                                                                  parts.		With	qualifications	and	e
                                                                       in position.               and £40,000 a year (2008).
Installation of items means they will be secured permanently                                                                                                             	was	and	is	made	and	
                                          of	domestic	fitted	furniture	is	that	of	Kitchen	                                          storers	are	aware	how	furniture
Perhaps	the	most	obvious	example	                                                                  Qualified	and	experienced	re                                    damage develops though
                                                                                                                                          of weakness and how
Installation. Other installations include bedrooms, bathrooms
                                                                       and utility rooms.          they also understand the causes                            d using materials such as metal,
                  nd	public	buildings	such	as	offices,	shops,	hospitals,	laboratories	             deterioration. Mod   ern furniture is often now create                      e damaged. Wood
 Commercial	a                                                                                                                          of these items are discarded onc
 and	prisons	also	require	units	of	furniture	to	be	secured.                                        glass, stone and plastics. Many                                 ture	is	often	built	to	last	and	
                                                                                                                                       ppeal	and	wooden	furni
                                                                              ts within the FFI    has	qualities	that	continue	to	a
 Job roles which involve the fitting, shaping and securing of produc                               can be repainted if   needed.
 Industr y include:                                                                                                                                                              t	as	a	restorer	you	
                                                                                                                                        ide	range	of	tools	and	equipmen
                                                                              ces, mouldings        Working	in	a	workshop	with	a	w                                             s	well	as	restoration	
                                      island cupboards/units, work surfa                                                               	or	alongside	other	employees.	A
  •	 Kitchen Fitter: floor, wall and                                                                may	be	required	to	work	alone                                         ct	and	deliver	furniture	
                                                                  k surfaces, mouldings                                               ravel	to	visit	customers	to	colle
 •	 Furniture Fitter: shelving, war
                                     drobes, storage units, wor                                     work	you	may	be	required	to	t                           onsible for keeping the worksho
                                                                          ngs,	shutters	etc                                              you may be resp
                                     ternal	and	external	blinds,	awni                               after repairs are complete and                                         	examin    ation	of	
  •	 Blind	and	Shutter	Installer:	In                                 curtain tracks, hang and                                        o	make	a	careful	and	detailed
                                      s of all types, curtain laths,                                clean	and	tidy.		You	will	have	t
  •	 Soft Furnishing Installer: Blind                                                               damaged furniture before star
                                                                                                                                       ting   any repairs.
                                           , valances, and draperies.                                                                                                       to restore it and what
       dress window and bed curtains                                                                                                   help you decide the best way
                                                                                                    The condition of the piece will                             t	and	estimate	of	the	costs	of	r
                                                                                                                                           ed.	A	written	repor
 The installer will also need to take account of and accommodat
                                                                             e the utility          materials	and	techniques	you	ne                                            .
                                                                                                                                         tomer agrees to any restoration
 services	and	special	design	feature       s.		An	example	of	this	would	be	making	                  may be needed before the cus
                                                                       cabling through the
 provision for the safe passage of water, gas and low voltage
 item of furniture or unit.
                                                                              tools, power
 A competent Installer will be skilled in the use of a range of hand
 tools and templates, and will be able to align, scribe       and make level a range of
                                                                        s and specifications,
 units. Other transferable skills include: reading drawings/plan
 measuring, marking, cutting      and securing. Knowledge of background structures
                                                                               ade.		There	
  (solid/cavity	walls	etc)	is	required	so	that	a	secure	fixing	can	be	m
  are	many	fixing	devices	available	and	the	approp         riate	one	must	be	used.		For	
                                                                           de of regulations
  kitchen fitting in particular, the Fitter will be aware of the multitu
  which apply to the design      and fitting of appliances and to the provision of the
  utilities including heating, lighting and ventilation.
                                                                            tion, will meet and
  Some Installers will also have input into the design of the installa
  satisfy customer demands and make arrangement             s for the safe movement of
                                                                       are able to provide
  goods in and out of the installation area. Some companies
  opportunities for a diverse    range of craft skills especially if they complete works
                                                                            be	ceramic	
   before	and	after	the	installation	of	cabinetry	–	examples	might	
   and floor tiling, plaster patching, basic plumbing,    and decoration. Some smaller
                                                                         installing kitchens,
   companies offer a complete service: designing, making and
   furniture and furnishings.
Soft Furnisher
                                                                                  16               Wood Machinist
                                                                          walls and ceilings
This is the art of producing fabric decoration for windows, beds,
and the produc     tion of removable covers for seat furniture and cushions. There
                                                                         market and the
are two areas of production of soft furnishing, one for the mass                                 Wood machinists are employed by furniture manufacturers to
                                                                                                                                                                  cut, shape and
other offering bespoke items. The mass        market section is often undertaken in                                                  r	furniture	production.		The	work	requires	good	
                                                                          ated	high	speed	       repare	timber	which	is	then	used	fo
modern	workrooms	and	requires	skill	in	the	use	of	more	sophistic                                 hand eye coordination and can involve the use of machinery
                                                                                                                                                                   and hand held
                                                                            , hemming and
machines used for layering and cutting the material, plain sewing                                tools such as saws, planers and routers. Some employers also
                                                                                                                                                                  train their staff to use
finishing. The bespoke area comprises mostly of smaller        units where more hand                                                                            mmes	(CAD/CAM).		
                                                                           curately	and	         computer	aided	design	and	manufacturing	software	progra
skills	are	required.		You	will	be	taught	how	to	measure	and	cut	ac                               Wood	machinists	are	expected	to	   plan	efficient	use	of	raw	timber	to	keep	waste	
hand sew neatly the various       stitches used in the manufacturing process, how                                                                                   and follow detailed
                                                                          pattern match.         to a minimum and they may have to understand design briefs
to use a sewing machine to join lengths of fabric together and                                   technical drawings.
 You will have the opportunity to develop your skills     to become a supervisor or
                                                                         of the staff. Design,
 workroom manager able to oversee and train other members                                        Regardless	of	the	tasks	or	the	employer,	health	and	safety	is	very	
                                                                                                                                                                     important	and	
 estimate for and cut and      make ornate fabric treatments for use in homes, hotels,                                      be followed at all times. Wood machinists often start out on
                                                                                                 safety procedures must
 boardrooms and historic houses.                                                                 an Apprenticeship with furniture manufacturers. During training
                                                                                                                                                                    they develop a wide
                                                                              ships,	NVQs	                                                          ly and cabinet making. National
 Qualifications	that	are	useful	in	these	positions	include	Apprentice                            range of skills, including machine work, assemb
                                                         e	modules	that	look	at	furniture	                                                                          ble	at	Level	2	and	
 and	Diplomas.		Within	these	qualifications	there	ar                                             Vocational	Qualifications	(NVQs)	in	Wood	Machining	are	availa
                                                                     er these are not                                     options for furniture making.
 and Soft Furnishing production and design and craft. Howev                                      Level 3 and there are
 always essential when      looking to gain entry level jobs. Higher National Diplomas
                                                                             d subjects such                                                                          xperience	and	they	
 (HNDs), foundation degree and degree courses in furniture-relate                                Work	related	training	courses	such	as	these	provide	hands	on	e
 as furniture making, furniture restoration, furniture  production and furniture design          help	employees	develop	a	broad	ra      nge	of	skills	and	knowledge.	With	experience,	
                                                                     ility of these courses                                                                           of timber is needed
 are available at some colleges and universities. The availab                                    wood machinists can then make decisions such as which type
                           job market, which can have a strong influence on the types                                                                                   ties	of	different	
 depends on the local                                                                            for	making	particular	products,	based	on	the	strengths	and	quali
                                                                                                 timber types. As well as the ability to follow technic al drawings, good maths skills
  of	skills	and	qualifications	trainers	teach.
                                                                                                                                                                   cutting angles are also
                                                                                                 for working out the amount of timber needed and efficient
                                     :                                                           required.		Other	impo  rtant	skills	employers	look	for	at	interview	can	include	problem	
  Some	useful	qualifications	include                                                             solving and good communication skills.
                                   nstalling	Furniture	
  •	 NVQ	Level	2	in	Making	and	I                                re	
  •	 NVQ	Level 3	in	Making	a
          Level	3 in Making   and Installing	Production	Furnitu
                               nd	Insta                                                           Once the days work is complete, the wood machinists may
                                                                                                                                                              be responsible for
                                            g Hand-c
                                    epairing	Hand-   crafted	Furniture	
                                                      rafted Furniture                                                   ,	maintaining	tools	and	servicing	equipment.		Wood	
          Level	3 in Making and Repairin
  •	 NVQ	Level 3	in	Making	and	R                                                                  cleaning	the	workshop
                                                                                                                                                                   of furnishings.
                                                                                                  machinists are needed in the manufacture of a very wide range
                                                                                                  Kitchen cabinets, tables and chairs, door and  window frames, wardrobes, shelving,
                                                                                                  fencing	and	pallets	are	only	a	few	examples	of	these.		

                                                                                                                              enticeships	and	Advanced	
                                                                                                   Qualifications	such	as	Appr
                                                                                                                                 s	and	within	these	there	are	
                                                                                                   Apprenticeships	include	NVQ
                                                                                                   individual modules such as:
                                                                                                                               ed, jointed,
                                                                                                   •	 Producing shaped, turn
                                                                                                        sanded & bor  ed objects
                                                                                                    •	 Making sawn and planed
                                                                                                    •	 Using	CNC/NC	machine	
                                                                                                                                  duction furniture
                                                                                                    •	 Making and repairing pro
                                                                                                                                ent	maintenance
                                                                                                    •	 Machiner y	and	equipm
                                                                                                                                   d crafted furniture
                                                                                                    •	 Making and repairing han
                                                                              18                                                                                                  19
                                                                                                Resto The Qualifications value
                                                                                                                                 d by
                                                                                                Furniture, Furnishing and Inter
Furniture Manufacturing and                                                                                                     ior
                                                                                                sector employers
the Environment

                                                                                                                                                                     the jobs found within the
The manufacture of man made products from raw materials
                                                                   unavoidably creates                                           the traditional route to many of
                                                                                             Although Apprenticeships are                                           nge	from	the	‘academic’	
some waste products and emissions. The        disposal of these can be harmful to our                                              tions	valued	by	the	industr y	ra
                                                                                             FFI	industry	the	type	of	qualifica                                     logy,	Business	Studies	
environment if it is not strictly controlled and the Furniture, Furnish
                                                                        ings and Interiors
                                                                                                   SEs,	A’	Levels	in:	English,	Ma ths,	Science,	ICT,	Design	Techno
                                                                                             (GC                                                                      s	AVCEs,	NVQs,		BTEC	
industry have a very responsible attitude towards this.                                                                           ork	related	qualifications’	such	a
                                                                                             and	Art)	to	‘vocational’	and	‘w                                              olve	study	and	work	
                                                                                                                                      rees.		Vocational	qualifications	inv
                                                                                             HNCs/HNDs	and	Foundation	Deg                                           employed. This means
By supporting research and assisting in the setting up of waste
                                                                control systems, FFI                                              be completed part time, whilst
                                                                                             based training and some can                                                 and gain on-the-job
                            awareness of environmental issues caused through                                                           rs) can ‘earn’ while they ‘learn’
industry bodies have raised                                                                  lear  ners (including career change                                    tions.	
the	waste	created	by	furniture	manufacture.		As	a	consequenc
                                                                 e	many	UK	                                                        s	they	complete	their	qualifica
                                                            l emissions and waste             experience	at	the	same	time	a
furniture manufacturers are now helping to reduce harmfu
products are being recycled wherever possible.                                                                                                                    torer	
                                                                                                                             d	qualifications	for	a	Furniture	Res
                                                                                               An	example	of	the	work	relate
                                                                                                                              would be:
                                                                                               which the FFI employer’s value
                                                                                                                              nd	Installing	Furniture	
                                                                                               •	 An	NVQ	Level	2	in	Making	a                         rafted	Furniture	
                                                                                               •	 An	NVQ	Level	3  	in	Making	and	Repairing	Handc

                                                                                                                                                             ndation	Degree	or	BTEC	
                                                                                                                              so	have	a	relevant	Degree,	Fou
                                                                                              Also	Furniture	Restorers	may	al                                           urniture	Restorer	
                                                                                                                                      ecific	guidance	on	the	role	of	F
                                                                                              Higher	N ational	Diploma	(HND).		For	sp                            criptions.
                                                                                                                               please read the relevant job des
                                                                                              and other occupational areas,
                                                                                                                                                                Design (which we be
                                                                                                                              a in Manufacturing and Product
                                                                                              Further to this, the new Diplom                                ides a third choice of
                                                                                                                               UK from September 2009) prov
                                                                                              available in schools across the                                link both academic and
                                                                                              study for 14-19 year olds. The Diploma has been designed to
                                                                                              work based study.

                                                                                                   Diplomas	–	The	Diplomas	are	new	industry	led	qualifications	that	will	provide	
                                                                                                   young people between the ages of 14-19 with the chance to gain a real
                                                                                                   understanding	of	what	practical	skills	are	required	by	industry.		The	Diplomas	
                                                                                                   will be an ideal blend of work related learning and academic learning that
                                                                                                   will enable students to make informed choices about the type of learning
                                                                                                   that best suits them and about what kind of work, training or further study
                                                                                                   at college or university they may want to do. The Diploma in Manufacturing
                                                                                                   will be available from 2009, at three levels, and will include subject areas
                                                                                                   which have not been accessible in schools before. The industry led Diplomas
                                                                                                   are valued by employers and higher education institutions, as their combination
                                                                                                   of	essential	skills,	relevant	experience	and	applied	learning	provides	an	excellent	
                                                                                                   grounding for careers.

                                                                                                   For more details please visit -
Where Diplomas Fit (showing your options at Level 1, 2 & 3)

      Example 14-19 Qualifications
      (Showing expected diploma progress routes 2007)

          Level 4 and above                           BSc / BA
                                                                                                                   Foundation Degree                        NVQ	at	Level	4
                                                   Honours Degree

                                                                                              												Choose	your	higher	education	progress	route

               Level 3                                    GCE                                                          Advanced
                                                                                                                                                        Apprenticeship	with	NVQ	
                                                        “A” Levels                                                      Diploma
                                                                                                                                                              at Level 3

                                                                                                           Choose	your	Level	3	progress	route

                                                       5	GCSEs                                                           Higher                         Apprenticeship	with	NVQ	
               Level 2                              Graded	A*	to	C                                                      Diploma                               at Level 2

                                                                                                           Choose	your	Level	2	progress	route

               Level 1                     GCSEs	grade	D	to	G	+	other	                                                 Foundation                              Young
                                           qualifications	of	same	value                                                 Diploma                             Apprenticeship

                                                                                                                                                              Work based
                                                   Education	route                                            Education	and	work	based	route

                                                                                                                                                               Mosty	16	+
                                      																																											Qualifications	for					14	-	19
Essential Skills
Why are Essential Skills so important?
Essential	Skills	make	you	more	employable	and	include	literacy,	ICT	and	
numeracy	skills.	Essential	Skills	are	transferable	skills	because	they	are	used	in	
many job sectors.

The information on this page shows you how these skills are used in the Furniture,
Furnishings & Interiors industry.

People often change their jobs several times throughout their career. The
transferable skills they develop during this process continue to improve due to
common activities found in every business.


   The stronger your communication skills are, the quicker you can react to
   information and the better you are at creating action in others. Within this sector
   it is essential to have good communication skills, as the work you complete is part
   of a team activity. Good literacy skills are vital to all businesses today, as messages
   passed from one member of the team needs to be understood quickly and acted
   on. Confusion can lead to the reduction in customer service and a loss of future

   Accessing information (Security Awareness)
   Computer usage in business is continuously expanding and, together with
   engineering, this has changed the way many products are produced in the UK
   today. The large-scale production techniques are now often fully automated.
   Processing/Creating information
   Computers are also widely used for business strategy planning, information
   management, budget control, staff training, marketing communication and many
   other activities.

   There are many high-level technical jobs requiring a stronger numerical ability
   within the sector. Strong Maths skills are vital to setting budgets, weighing raw
   materials (production), planning and designing and in looking for ways to reduce
   waste. Maths skills are also needed to check that the products loaded to delivery
   vehicles match the amounts ordered by the customer.
Employee Case Study
Conor, Canavan Joinery,
Operations Manager
Conor,	36,	has	been	working	with	Canavan	Joinery	for	20	years.	He	joined	the	
company	on	leaving	school	having	achieved	5	GCEs	(3A’s	and	2B’s).	

In	the	early	days	of	his	apprenticeship	he	attended	the	local	College	of	
further	Education	to	study	Carpentry	&	Joinery	on	a	part-time	basis,	where	he	
achieved	NVQ	level	3.	Conor	continued	his	studies	to	complete	a	National	
Diploma	Business	&	Finance.	He	is	also	qualified	in	machining	materials,	
assembly and finishing products, including polishing to the highest standards.
All this training was provided by the company as part of its on-going continuous
development program undertaken by all apprentices.

Although	based	at	the	workshop	in	Co.	Tyrone,	Conor	has	had	the	opportunity	
to	travel	extensively	throughout	Ireland	and	Britain	working	on	unique	and	
individual	projects.		This	experience	has	allowed	Conor	to	meet	and	work	with	
a wide range of stakeholders of the business and given him the opportunity to
develop his organisational and interpersonal skills.

Today	Conor	is	employed	as	Operations	Manager	for	the	company	and	has	
control of many aspects of the business, from procurement and IT to project
management	and	delivery,	Conor	has	become	an	integral	and	valued	
member of the company.
   CAREER PROGRESSION ROUTES                                                                                                                                  FURNITURE, FURNISHINGS
                                                                                                                                                              & INTERIORS
                                                                                                                     Full Operative                                                                                      Senior
         Operative                                                                                                                                                    Manager
                                                                                                                    (Including craft roles)                                                                            Management
                                                                                                                         Cabinet	Maker
                                                                                                                                                                       Estimator                                        Human	Resources
  Packaging & Dispatch
       Operative                                        Various Apprenticeships                                          CNC	Machinist
                                                               Including:                                                                                                                                                   Marketing
                                                                                                                        Finisher/Polisher                          Quality	Control	
                                                                Cabinet	Maker
                                                                                                              Hand	Crafted	Furniture	Maker
              Trainee                                           Hand	Crafted
            Production                                         Furniture Maker                                   Production (inc. Installer/                        Space Planner
            Operative                                                                                            Manufacturer/Assembler)
                                                                 Soft Furnisher                                                                                                                                            Purchasing
                                                                   Upholsterer                                                                                  Production Manager
                                                                                                                          Soft Furnisher                                                                                  Research	and	
                                                               Wood Machinist                                                                                                                                             Development
Trainee Furniture Assembly
        Operative                                                                                            Upholsterer	(inc	Cutter	&	Sewer)
                                                                                                                                                                  Furniture Designer                                           Sales
                                                                                                                        Wood Machinist

                                                                                                                           Industry Specific Qualifications
                 Level 1                                                Level 2                                                   Level 3                                Level 4                                             Level 5
                                                                                                                             AS/A Levels
      GCSEs	(Grade	D-G)                                   GCSEs	(Grade	A*-C)	
                                                        or potential to achieve                               NVQ	Level	3	Wood	Machining/	
         Work Based                                 NVQ	Level	2	Wood	Machining/	                              Making and Installing Furniture/
    Learning Programmes                              Making & Installing Furniture/                              Making	and	Repairing	                                NVQ	Level	4
                                                             Fitted Interiors/                                 Hand-Crafted	Furniture	and	                                                                        NVQ	Level	5	Management
                                                     Furniture	Restoration/Kitchen	                                    Furnishings
           Essential	Skills		                                     Fitting                                                                                         Foundation Degree
                                                                                                                         ApprenticeshipNI                                                                               Business Degree
                                                             VQR	Level	2	in	
        VRQ	Level	1	in	                                   Furniture Production                                            VRQ	Level	3	in	                         HNC	e.g.	CAD/CAM
     Furniture Production                                L2	CAD/CAM	Design                                             Furniture Production                                                                        Postgraduate	Certificates
                                                         Work B ased L earning                                        Work Based Learning                         Work Based Learning
NVQ	Level	1	in	Supporting	the		                        Level	2	Award,	Certificate	
 Production of Furniture and                             &	Diploma	in	Creative	                                 Level	3	Award,	Certificate	
         Furnishings                                Techniques:	Design	for	Interiors	                             &	Diploma	in	Creative	
                                                           ApprenticeshipNI                                   Techniques:	Design	for	Interiors	

                                                                                                                                 Typical Wage Bands
       £12,000 – £14,000                                      £14,000 – £18,000                                      £18,000 – £25,000                             £25,000 – £40,000                                   £45,000 – £75,000+

 Please	note	that	these	qualifications	are	desirable	but	not	necessarily	essential.	Within	the	Furniture,	Furnishings	&	interiors	industry,	you	could	also	
                                                                                                                                                              For more information please visit
 work	in	any	of	the	following	disciplines:	Administration,	Environment,	Health	&	Safety	or	Project	Management.	For	more	information,	please	visit
*Next Steps*
Interested in a career in the Furniture, Furnishings & Interiors
industry? Visit for more information,
including hints and tips on how to find and start your
perfect career.

And if the FFI industry is not for you, why not check out the
other booklets in this series and see what other careers are
available in the industries that make up the Process and
Manufacturing Sector?

These include :
·	Building	Products	and	Refractories
·	Coatings	Industry
·	Extractives	and	Mineral	Processing
·	Glass
·	Glazed	Ceramics
· Print
· Paper

Simply visit
and download your free copy.


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