MPs welcome furniture apprentices to Westminster

Scaled down_Apprentices_come_to_Westminster

The British Furniture Confederation arranged for a number of young apprentices to meet the chair Stephen McPartland MP and other members of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group at the group's Annual General Meeting at the Houses of Parliament on 22nd October 2012.

The aim of the get-together was to demonstrate to Members of Parliament the diversity of training needs for the furniture sector and how those needs are currently being met in various parts of the country.

In attendance were students and their principals and instructors from Burnley College, Lancashire, in work placements with office furniture manufacturer Senator International; bed maker Silentnight; and bespoke kitchen producers Drew Forsyth & Co; from the National School of Furniture in High Wycombe and Rycotewood; from private providers Webs Training in Nottingham, whose apprentices specialise in cabinet making, upholstery and kitchen installation; and Wendy Shorter Interiors, whose students learn bespoke upholstery skills, under the Association of Masters Upholsterers & Soft Furnishers' own training scheme. In addition there were trainees from FIRA and from Ercol Furniture also present.

After the formalities of the meeting, the students, their tutors and college principals, MPs and members of the BFC executive mingled to discuss how apprenticeships and training schemes within the furniture industry were performing and how they could be strengthened and improved. Training in the furniture industry is one of the BFC's key areas of focus within their Action Plan for the industry.

Picture shows: students, principals and instructors at the Houses of Parliament. Chair of the APPFIG Stephen McPartland, MP for Stevenage, can be seen standing (middle row, 3rd from right) next to the BFC chair Paul von der Heyde (middle row 1st right). Erewash MP Jessica Lee, APPFIG executive officer, is standing far left, middle row).

The BFC was set up by the Furniture Makers, the City of London livery company, to bring together furniture industry trade associations and membership bodies with the principle aim of engaging with government at all levels regarding matters of concern within the furniture, bed and furnishing industry. Its members include: the British Contract Furnishing Association (BCFA), the Association of British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM), the National Bed Federation (NBF), the Furniture Industry Research Association (FIRA), the Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers (AMUSF), the Interior Designers Association (IDA), the flexible foam group of the British Plastics Federation (BPF) and Anti-Copying In Design (ACID). The BFC employs the services of political consultants Brevia Consulting to advise it on government activity and to provide the secretariat of the All Party Parliamentary Furniture Industry Group, chaired by Stevenage MP Stephen McPartland.