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With apprenticeships you can enhance your workforce and introduce a fresh perspective to your business. An apprenticeship is first and foremost a job and comes with substantial training and the development of transferable skills, which is beneficial to the employer and the employee. To find out more about the benefits of employing an apprentice please see: http://www.getingofar.gov.uk/employers

Apprentices need your help

Occupational Awards Limited (OAL) are seeking furniture industry experts who are willing to become independent assessors to join its team. For more about the role and how to apply see here.

Apprenticeship standards

Level 2

Furniture Manufacturer Level 2
The programme is designed to give a wide range of skills appropriate to the different occupations in the industry. This apprenticeship covers the following occupational areas:

  • General Furniture Manufacturer
  • Bed Manufacturer
  • Modern Upholsterer
  • Furniture Finisher
  • Fitted Furniture Installer
  • Furniture Restorer
  • Modern Furniture Service Repairer
  • Foam Convertor and Upholstery Cushion Interior Manufacturer
  • Wood Machinist
  • Furniture CNC Specialist

Each apprentice will take the occupational route that is best suited to the business they work in. They will complete all the core requirements set out below and then the set number of requirements for the chosen route.

Click here to download the apprenticeship standard and assessment plan.

Level 3 Apprenticeships
The following apprenticeships are currently in development and should be available in 2019:

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

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Other areas
There are a range of apprenticeships available to support your business, from retail, administration to operations management. You can This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., your provider or OAL about the optional available to you.

End-Poiint Assessment

End-point assessment (EPA) is an holistic and independent assessment, designed to test whether an apprentice has gained the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the relevant standard, and it grades the apprentice according to their performance.

EPA must be carried out by an end-point assessment organisation which is listed on the register of end-point assessment organisations.

BFM’s preferred EPA Organisation is Occupational Awards Limited. See their website for more information.

OAL

Resources

Find apprenticeship training

The Education & Skills Funding Agency has developed a web site to all employers to find apprentice training providers. The site may be accessed here.

It is quite a useful tool and looks at employer satisfaction, pass rates, etc., as well as a detailed overview of the provider with their contact details.

Furniture Industry Qualifications

For employees who don’t require substantial training there are a number of furniture industry qualifications available.

These have been developed by OAL in conjunction with employers and the BFM to ensure they meet the skills required in the industry.

For details of all the current qualifications available please see: http://www.oawards.co.uk/quals/furniture/.

Apprenticeship levy

You will need to pay the apprenticeship levy if you are an employer, in any sector, with a pay bill of more than £3 million each year.

The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of your annual pay bill. You will have a levy allowance of £15,000 per year to offset against the levy you must pay. This means you will only pay the levy if your pay bill exceeds £3 million in a given year.

Funding
How it will work
On-line calculator

Draft legislation: regulations for the calculation, payment and recovery of Apprenticeship Levy

HM Revenue and Customs has published in September 2016 a technical consultation on the first set of draft regulations for the Apprenticeship Levy.

The consultation requests comments on the proposed regulations which cover the calculation, reporting and payment of the Apprenticeship Levy. HM Revenue and Customs state that the consultation will be of interest to employers who are likely to have to pay the levy, employer advisers and payroll agencies.

The draft regulations are available online here. Responses should be sent by 14 November 2016.

October 2018 - Package of reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy announced

The government have announced (1 October 2018) a package of reforms to ensure the Apprenticeship Levy provides people with the skills they need to succeed.

The changes are aimed at providing flexibility for businesses so they can take full advantage of the benefits of employing apprentices, and to help as many people as possible find the right training to equip them for the new economy.

Additional funding has also been announced for the Institute for Apprenticeships to introduce new standards and updating existing ones so that more courses can be offered – meaning more choice for those considering their training options. The government will discontinue the old frameworks so that all new apprenticeships will be on the same higher-quality standards by the start of the 2020/21 academic year.

Read more.

Funding (England)

Training Providers will be able to provide information on the funding available for apprenticeships and qualifications.  If you are interested in holding a direct contract with Government to draw down funding please see the detailed information on the Skills Funding Agency’s funding rules please see:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sfa-funding-rules

See also Apprenticeship Funding in England from May 2017

Education and training news

October 2018 - Package of reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy announced

The government have announced (1 October 2018) a package of reforms to ensure the Apprenticeship Levy provides people with the skills they need to succeed.

The changes are aimed at providing flexibility for businesses so they can take full advantage of the benefits of employing apprentices, and to help as many people as possible find the right training to equip them for the new economy.

Additional funding has also been announced for the Institute for Apprenticeships to introduce new standards and updating existing ones so that more courses can be offered – meaning more choice for those considering their training options. The government will discontinue the old frameworks so that all new apprenticeships will be on the same higher-quality standards by the start of the 2020/21 academic year.

Read more.

Level 3 Apprenticeship Development
An industry-specific Level 3 Furniture Apprenticeship has officially been approved and is in development. We hope to launch the standards in early 2019.

The training scheme, which has been funded and supported by both the British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) and The Furniture Makers’ Company (FMC), will cover a spectrum of jobs including bespoke furniture maker, advanced upholsterer, advanced Computer Numerical Control (CNC) technician, fitted furniture design technician and new product developer.
Said Jackie Bazeley, BFM md: “Apprenticeships are a great way to bring a fresh perspective into a business and with substantial training and development, are beneficial to both the employee and employer. The new scheme will also present the industry with the opportunity to advance individuals to a level that will help fill the skills gaps.”

Said Jonny Westbrooke, FMC ceo: “The Level 2 Apprenticeship Standard was successfully developed and given ministerial approval last year, thanks to the support of the furnishing industry. A Level 3 Standard is now desperately needed for school leavers who meet the entry requirements for the higher level. We are pleased that approval has been granted so work can now start on the development of the Bespoke Furniture Maker, Advanced Upholsterer and Advanced Furniture CNC Technician standards.”

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