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Job Photographs

  • A man is opening the door of a white van.

    Going out on a job.

  • A man is sitting at a desk.  He is talking on the phone and making notes in a small book.

    Discussing a new job with a client.

  • A man is sitting at a workbench.  He is looking carefully at a sheet of paper.

    Furniture makers need to work to a set of plans.

  • Somebody is cutting a long piece of wood, using a machine.

    Cutting out the wood before assembling the piece.

  • A man is using a tool to work on a piece of wooden furniture.

    You need good practical skills to do well in this kind of work.

  • A man is drilling a hole into a piece of wood.

    Drilling a hole into a cabinet door, ready for it to be attached.

  • A man is sitting at a desk, working on a laptop.

    Using design software to look at different styles.

  • A man is placing a large wooden cabinet on to a work surface.

    You need to be reasonably fit in this career for the lifting and carrying you may have to do.

  • Furniture Maker

Furniture Maker

Introduction

Furniture makers produce all types of furniture. Most work in factories making products on a large scale. Traditional furniture makers are based in workshops. They make one-off pieces and carry out repair and restoration work.

Also known as

  • Carpenter - Cabinet Maker
  • Cabinet Maker

Video: - Simon: Furniture Maker

Video: - Richard: Cabinet Maker

Work Activities

As a Furniture Maker, you will produce all types of furniture, such as tables, chairs, kitchen cupboards and benches. You will use a variety of materials including plastics and metals, as well as wood.

In the factories of large manufacturers, you produce modern styles for the mass market. In other firms, you may work on reproduction pieces or help in the restoration/repair of antiques. A few are employed in craft workshops making original designs and commissions.

Furniture Makers use tools and equipment such as planes, saws, chisels, sanders and polishers. You must wear protective equipment for certain tasks and make sure your environment is well ventilated.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To do this job well, you will need:

  • Good hand skills.
  • To be creative.
  • Good number skills for measuring and calculating.
  • To be able to work from plans, drawings and written instructions.
  • The ability to carry out tasks accurately.
  • Physical fitness, as the work involves a great deal of standing and occasional heavy lifting.

Working conditions can often be dusty and not always suitable for those with chest complaints, certain skin conditions or asthma.

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates given below are approximate.

  • Inexperienced Furniture Makers could earn £17,000
  • Experienced Furniture Makers can earn £25,000
  • Senior Furniture Makers may earn £30,000

Hours of work

Furniture Makers usually work around 39 hours, Monday to Friday, with occasional overtime.

Where could I work?

Employers include furniture-making firms and other furniture manufacturing companies.

Opportunities for Furniture Makers occur in workshops and factories in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for experienced Furniture Makers to work independently as self-employed Craftworkers.

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Universal Jobmatch, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

An Intermediate Level Apprenticeship is a great place to start.Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

Training

Training will be on-the-job with supervision from an experienced Furniture Maker.

Work Experience

Previous experience within a contruction environment such as carpentry will help you get into this career.

Progression

It is very common for furniture makers to become self-employed. For people working for a company, progress will usually be towards supervisory positions.

Qualifications

You don't always need qualifications to get into this job.

Practical ability is often considered more important. However, GCSEs or equivalent will be useful. Subjects like English, Maths, Design and Technology (Resistant Materials) and Manufacturing will be most useful.

To get onto an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship, you’ll usually need at least 2 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, possibly including English and Maths.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Skills/experience

Practical skills gained in woodwork, carpentry and joinery are valuable.

Statistics

  • 52% of people in occupations such as furniture making are self-employed.
  • 11% work part-time.
  • 5% have flexible hours.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

Skills Development Scotland - Modern Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 9178000

Email: info@skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk

Website: www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships

City & Guilds

Address: 1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD

Tel: 020 7294 2468

Email: learnersupport@cityandguilds.com

Website: www.cityandguilds.com

CITB NI

Northern Ireland Enquiries

Address: Nutts Corner Training Centre, 17 Dundrod Road, Crumlin, County Antrim BT29 4SR

Tel: 028 9082 5466

Email: info@citbcsni.org.uk

Website: www.citbcsni.org.uk

Construction Employers Federation (CEF)

Irish enquiries

Address: 143 Malone Road, Belfast BT9 6SU

Tel: 028 9087 7143

Email: mail@cefni.co.uk

Website: www.cefni.co.uk

Creative Skillset

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Creative Choices

Publisher: Creative & Cultural Skills

Email: info@creative-choices.co.uk

Website: www.creative-choices.co.uk

Creative & Cultural Skills

Skills for craft, cultural heritage, design, literature, music, performing arts and visual arts

Email: london@ccskills.org.uk

Website: ccskills.org.uk

Institute of Carpenters (IOC)

Address: 32 High Street, Wendover, Buckinghamshire HP22 6EA

Tel: 0844 8797696

Email: info@instituteofcarpenters.com

Website: www.instituteofcarpenters.com

Proskills UK

Skills for process and manufacturing industries

Address: Centurion Court, 85b Park Drive, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxfordshire OX14 4RY

Tel: 01235 833844

Email: info@proskills.co.uk

Website: www.proskills.co.uk

Prospect4u

Careers in manufacturing

Website: www.prospect4u.co.uk

craft&design

Address: PO Box 5, Driffield, East Yorkshire, YO25 8JD

Tel: 01377 255213

Website: www.craftanddesign.net

Crafts Council

Address: 44a Pentonville Road, Islington, London N1 9BY

Tel: 020 7806 2500

Email: reception@craftscouncil.org.uk

Website: www.craftscouncil.org.uk

The Furniture Makers' Company

Address: Furniture Makers’ Hall, 12 Austin Friars, London EC2N 2HE

Tel: 020 7256 5558

Email: hello@furnituremakers.org.uk

Website: www.furnituremkrs.co.uk

Cabinet Maker

Tel: 01954 212906

Website: www.cabinet-maker.co.uk

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

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