Deadline extended for furniture industry skills survey

The deadline for a survey to assess the furniture industry’s training requirements has been extended until the end of May. With recent statistics showing a rise in manufacturing output for the UK and potential long term expansion on the agenda, the survey aims to help ensure a workforce with skills that reflect the needs of an evolving industry.

The Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers and the Furniture Industry Research Association are collaborating to undertake the major survey with the aim of identifying gaps between current skills provision and industry requirements.

They are urging manufacturers and retailers to complete the survey online by the 31st May 2015.

Dr Pete Beele, Council member for the Furniture Industry Research Association, explains the importance of the survey and why the timing is right:

“A potential skills gap was first highlighted within the Association’s 2010 Competitiveness Analysis, but, at the time, the impact of the financial crisis had just started to bite and survival tended to take priority over strategy.”

“However, the time is now right to revisit this issue, especially in the light of the new government and its renewed commitment to training and apprenticeships. The first step has been to consult with as many companies as possible and we are really pleased with the response so far of over 100 completed surveys. We have extended the deadline to encourage maximum participation across the whole furniture supply chain. Once the results are known, stakeholders will be able to employ tactics to ensure that any skills gaps are plugged.”

This strategic move for the furniture industry emulates other sectors such as construction and engineering. Results will be fed into Government and used to guide training and skills providers, from schools through to universities, to meet industry’s future needs.

Charles Vernon, Past Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company and Chairman of its Education and Training Committee, said:

“We are pleased to be partnering with the Furniture Industry Research Association to carry out this vital industry survey, as the results will underpin the future successes of all of our businesses. Needless to say, the more responses we receive the more accurate the results will be and we are reliant on your knowledge and experience if we are to make a meaningful difference.”

Following the online survey, interviews and validation workshops will be carried out to gather anecdotal evidence and opinion before the findings are published in the autumn.