The Furniture Makers’ Company and FIESTA announce new apprenticeship service

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 take on apprentices with ease.

Launching this autumn, the apprenticeship service will help companies to recruit new talent, upskill existing employees and act as a central resource for information on apprenticeships.

The apprenticeship service will support businesses to:

  • Set up a Government Apprenticeship account
  • Understand the funding and costs involved
  • Connect with training providers offering relevant training
  • Understand off-the-job training hours and management
  • Alongside training providers match your job roles and skills gaps to apprenticeship standards
  • Find an apprentice through promotional opportunities and guidance
  • Understand the End Point Assessment (EPA) process.

As part of the new service, Natalie Cole has been appointed as Skills Plus Coordinator. Natalie will be responsible for the management and development of the apprenticeship service, with the new role being co-funded by The Furniture Makers’ Company and FIESTA.

Natalie has 20 years’ experience in the sector. After studying Furniture Design & Technology at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University, now Bucks New Uni, she ran a small furniture design business for 10 years that combined small run batch production of domestic furniture and products as well as larger scale one-off commissions. Most recently, she has been teaching furniture and product design at Birmingham City University for past eight years.

Natalie Cole, skills plus coordinator, said: “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.”

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

For more information about the new service or to book a meeting with Natalie, email

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