New training body ‘will combat skills gap’

Trade associations across the furnishings industry have united to form the Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (Fiesta) to combat the threat of a widening skills gap.

The need for a dedicated industry forum to identify and discuss education and training was proposed at last month’s Bridging the Gap Conference, organised by industry charity, The Furniture Makers’ Company.

The alliance will be employer-led and will provide a forum that allows stakeholders to identify, clarify, promote and engage with all issues and needs relating to education, training and skills for people of all ages and businesses across the furniture and interiors industries.

It will aim to streamline skills provision to avoid duplication of resources and enable easy access to the highest-quality education and skills training.

Fiesta will work with the British Furniture Confederation to communicate education and training needs to the Government.

Gary Baker (pictured), managing director of Corian solid surfaces distributor CDUK, has been appointed as chairman of the new alliance.

Baker said: “It is an absolute privilege to be asked to carry out this important role. The launch of Fiesta is a major step forward. It enables businesses of all shapes and sizes, from across the different sectors that make up the furniture and interiors industry, to stand united to address education and training issues and work together to create solutions. If we can pull together with a common purpose, putting skills development at the forefront of what we do, so the industry is attractive for people of all ages, then we will have driven change at a key time.”

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