The first work-based path into the kitchen industry in the UK could be introduced imminently after getting the green light from the Institute for Apprenticeships (IFA).
Following a successful submission last November by the Furniture Industry Education and Skills Training Alliance (Fiesta), IFA has approved the new Level 3 apprenticeship standards for the new role of fitted furniture design technician.
The Kitchen Education Trust (TKET), which has been instrumental in driving forward various industry education and training initiatives, said that once the assessment process has been finalised, the work-based scheme will become available to UK school leavers as the first professional pathway into the kitchen industry.
TKET chairman Craig Matson said the next step would be to create a number of other recognised work-based qualifications for the kitchen industry at different levels, including to adapt the existing foundation degree in kitchen design as an apprenticeship degree.
TKET said the fitted furniture design technician apprenticeship scheme will sit just under the Level 4 and 5 FdA foundation degree in kitchen design offered by Bucks New University.
Matson said: “To get to this point has taken a lot of time and effort and special thanks should go to the Furniture Makers’ Company for the financial support they have given towards getting approval of this apprenticeship along with a number of others for the furniture industry.”
A survey is being circulated to establish the UK kitchen industry’s appetite for developing higher education options and Matson is urging companies who believe in developing a professional pathway into the industry to complete it.
The survey was created by the Furniture Makers, a livery company of the City of London, and the British Furniture Manufacturers Association (BFM) on behalf of trade associations from across the UK furniture and interiors industries.
Typically, apprentices will study part-time at college, university or with a training provider.
The survey, available here, will close on February 28.
Meanwhile, Fiesta is leading an initiative to make schools aware of the opportunities for school leavers.
The trial, beginning in March, involves inviting schools to visit manufacturers, with the aim of rolling the scheme out in subsequent years.