What do I learn?
In addition to more advanced cabinet-making techniques, the programme covers wood machining, design skills and wood finishing. Other units of specialist furniture options, such as design and restoration of furniture, can also be explored.
If you have not already achieved a health and safety module at Level 2, you will need to complete it.
On the advanced apprenticeship you could:
• work as an experienced furniture restorer – repairing furniture, from simple things like re-gluing broken parts through to completely rebuilding an item, making missing components and re-polishing
• work as an experienced upholsterer – adding padding and soft covers to furniture, or working with designs, textures and colours to cover/re-cover items with fabric or other materials
You attend college one day a week and complete technical training and a health and safety exam. You also complete a timed practical assignment and produce a portfolio of underpinning knowledge.
Assessment of practical exercises and written work is continuous throughout the programme. At work you are assessed by your tutor, and employer witness statements are created and added to a portfolio of evidence. An essay on employee rights and responsibilities, and functional skills, are part of the apprenticeship framework.
The majority of this course is taught in the workplace. One day a week is spent at the Rycotewood workshops on campus at City of Oxford College where you attend tutor demonstrations and complete practical activities.
To gain your apprenticeship qualification you need to pass all of the following elements:
• Level 3 NVQ Furniture
• functional skills in English and maths Level 2
• employment rights and responsibilities
Apprenticeships are designed to let you benefit from real life work experience which you will get day-to-day in your job. This experience is supported by the theory that you will study.
Your assessments are carried out by a qualified and trade competent assessor who will help support you and your employer in achieving your qualification. The functional skills are assessed by exam.
What do I gain?
An apprenticeship is made up of an NVQ qualification as well as functional skills. You gain recognised qualifications while gaining valuable work experience.
What do I need?
You must be in employment in the relevant occupation for a minimum of 30 hours per week (or 16 hours per week in exceptional circumstances) to gain a place on one of our apprenticeship programmes. Your employer will need to agree to you becoming an apprentice as these are work-based qualifications.
Upon application you will be invited in for an interview and an initial assessment to make sure that the course is right for you.
There are no other restrictions to becoming an apprentice except that you need to be over the age of 16 and to have been settled in the UK for at least the past three years.
What can I do next?
On completion of the course you could explore further training options, such as a higher apprenticeship or a university-level qualification in furniture.
A BA (Hons) degree in Furniture: Design and Make is available at City of Oxford College.
What else do I need to know?
The Rycotewood Furniture Centre is a leading name in education and training for the furniture industry.
Now located on-campus at City of Oxford College, and forming part of the National School of Furniture, the Rycotewood name has been in operation for more than 75 years. To find out more, see the furniture section of our website.