Furniture apprentices from the Rycotewood Furniture Centre, part of Oxford & Cherwell Valley College are starting work on a new outdoor seating area for Oxfordshire’s largest primary school as part of the National Apprenticeship Week activity.
Pupils at the Barley Hill Primary School in Thame have already been involved in designing the seating which will be installed in the Early Years Foundation Studies area. The final design takes inspiration from a caterpillar – the class name – with round seats that form the shape of the insect’s body. Head teacher of the Barley Hill Primary School, Anne Stopforth commented “It has been a great opportunity for children to work with students from the Rycotewood Furniture Centre, providing the children with an insight of all aspects from design to production with a real purpose in mind.”
Next week, to coincide with National Apprenticeship Week, apprentice Tom Bishop will be cutting the green oak timber and beginning construction. The final seating is due to be completed and installed in April.
Chris Hyde, head of the Rycotewood Furniture Centre, said: “The project with Barley Hill Primary School is part of the 75th anniversary celebrations of Rycotewood. The furniture centre started in Thame in 1938 so it felt fitting to work with the primary school on a project that would benefit the local community.
Having worked with the children to help them understand more about furniture design, and developed models of the designs they created, our apprentice Tom will be starting work during National Apprenticeship Week next week. We look forward to presenting the new seating to the school and hope that it will be enjoyed for many years to come.”
The apprenticeships for furniture are developed by employers through Proskills and its National Skills Academy. Each apprentice has to achieve technical competence in their chosen trade, demonstrate their ability in English and Maths, and prove that they have the skills required to succeed at work.
Jonathan Ledger, Managing Director of Proskills Group, said “We are delighted that the frameworks we develop are being used in this way, and that the apprentices, schools, and colleges are all working together to promote furniture manufacturing. The furniture industry is a key part of the UK manufacturing economy and events like this are a brilliant way of remind people about the skills we have in the UK.”
For more information about furniture apprenticeships and other skills development work in the industry please contact Lisa Williamson on firstname.lastname@example.org or 07500 086599.