Inside tips to help furniture manufacturers attract the best talent and get the most of their training programmes are promised at the inaugural regional industry networking event organised by the British Furniture Manufacturers (BFM) at Ercol.

Entitled The Workforce of Tomorrow, the event has been developed specifically for the furniture community to help address recruitment challenges the industry faces, and to enable BFM members and non-members to network and share best practice.

Taking place at Ercol’s manufacturing headquarters in Princes Risborough on Thursday, 26th May after working hours (from 6pm-9pm), the networking session includes a tour of Ercol’s factory. It is free to attend for BFM members, and costs £25 for non-members.

The event will include a whistle-stop tour of good practice in utilising available tools like apprenticeships and new qualifications to support workforce development and retention.

Places are limited and booking is essential. Member booking information can be found here, and non-members’ information and booking details here

Derek Williams, quality director Achieve+Partners, a leading awarding and end-point assessment organisation for the furniture industry, will cover a range of topics.

He promises to give delegates an understanding of how to utilise the power of apprenticeships to add value to their business, set out what place T Level qualifications have in supporting the upskilling of the workforce, and discuss the ROI in developing own-grown talent.

BFM MD Sean Holt says: “Training is number one on the agenda for many furniture manufacturers, and this event is a great opportunity to come together and find out the routes that can be taken to help address one of the biggest challenges facing the industry.

“Ercol is a fantastic setting for the event, and this is a great opportunity for furniture manufacturers, suppliers, buyers and sellers to network, make contacts and help their respective businesses to evolve and grow."