FIESTA appoints Skills Plus operations manager

Louise Sugars has been appointed as the operations manager of Furniture and Interiors Skills Plus (Skills Plus).

In July the Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (FIESTA) entered into an agreement with the Apprenticeship Management Group to launch Skills Plus to support furnishing businesses of all sizes to recruit and manage apprentices.

Skills Plus offers businesses a specialist apprentice recruitment service, Apprentice Training Agency (ATA) and Levy Management Company.

Louise, an experienced manager with 12 years working in training and five years as a specialist recruitment manager, has been appointed to support companies to fulfil their training requirements for all manner of disciplines, from traditional making to retail, sales, marketing and other business areas, through Skills Plus.

Louise has extensive knowledge of all aspects of training available to support and enable development of employees in the workplace. She has worked as an assessor, internal verifier, operations training manager and a recruitment /apprenticeship manager who supports apprentices in their workplace and throughout their apprenticeship.

Commenting on her appointment, Louise said: “The opportunities available to the furniture and interiors industry to strengthen and encourage the knowledge and development of all their employees in the months and years ahead is fantastic. The introduction of the new Apprenticeship Standards, which support learning and development in every aspect of our businesses from Textile Production and Wood Manufacturer through to Sales and Team Management, offers scope for every member organisation.

“As the operations manager for Skills Plus, I am looking forward to working with companies from industry and recruiting new starters to help build your organisations and support you to pinpoint the best training for your existing workforce.”

Gary Baker, chairman of FIESTA, said: “We are delighted to be working with the Apprentice Management Group to provide Skills Plus as a service, and very pleased to have Louise in place to drive this forward. Skills Plus is a pathway for employers to recruit and develop the skills of the next generation. Companies that sign up to Furniture and Interiors Skills Plus will receive advice and guidance on the best training that is available to the sector.

“Through Furniture and Interiors Skills Plus, micro and SME non-levy paying employers will be able to access a much wider selection of funded skills training, while large employers can outsource the apprenticeship management to obtain best value for money and real time monitoring from their apprentice levy digital accounts.”

For more information about Skills Plus, go to

To discuss your training needs with Louise, please call 0800 644 6447 or email

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