Six young professionals who have completed The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Young Professional Industry Experience (YPIE) course gave a presentation last week to 45 industry experts outlining the challenges they perceive the furnishing industry is facing.

Launched in 2014 and principally sponsored by the January Furniture Show, the YPIE course brings together some of the brightest young talent in the furnishing industry to take part in an intensive three-week learning programme.

The group was given access to all areas of the furniture industry supply chain, learning about raw materials and components, the complexity of manufacturing, buying criteria, pricing, marketing and merchandising, through to consumer law, aftersales and customer service.

Nineteen companies opened their doors in May and June to give the delegates an insight into their businesses, including: Anti Copying in Design, Axminster Tools & Machinery, Blum, Cabinet Maker, CD UK, Crofts & Assinder, DFS, Ercol, FIRA, Fishpools, The Furniture Ombudsman, Halstock, Howdens Joinery, Hypnos, KI-Rack Systems, Muirhead Leather, Not on the High Street, Panaz, and UBM.

During a presentation at Furniture Makers’ Hall, London, on Thursday 21st July, the group outlined the key concepts they learned from the programme to representatives of the companies they visited, as well as other industry figures. They also discussed the challenges companies in the industry need to overcome, such as environmental factors, consumer buying habits, imports and exports, skills shortages and technical innovation.

To support the delegates’ continued development, The Furniture Makers’ Company will offer each of this year’s YPIE group the opportunity to be paired with one of its members to act as a mentor.

Ben Burbidge, mMaster of The Furniture Makers’ Company, says: “The Young Professionals Industry Experience is a unique opportunity that only The Furniture Makers’ Company, through our membership, is able to create and provide. It represents the pinnacle of our education programme."

Laraine Janes, director of the January Furniture Show, comments: “The course is an excellent opportunity for budding industry professionals to experience a variety of areas across the furniture industry supply chain and we were proud to support it. We’ve been in this industry for a number of years and we are always keen to support new talent.”