22 June 2024, 13:47
By Zac Aldridge Aug 11, 2022

Shaping the new furnituremaking qualification

NCFE’s Zac Aldridge is calling for sector leaders to help shape a pioneering new furnituremaking qualification – the new T Level for craft and design …

Innovative new T Levels (the technical equivalent of A Levels) have recently been announced in creative and design. These include a specific T Level pathway for craft and design, which will be available to learners from September 2023 onwards. 

As part of this T Level, students must specialise in one area, which makes up a large section of the course, and one of the specialism options is furnituremaking. The T Level will give students a route into a variety of careers, as well as into higher education.

These are flagship, Government-led qualifications, unique in their blend of high-quality classroom learning with on-the-job experience. They are also unique in the way they are developed, hand in hand with employers. 

NCFE is already working closely with a vast number of employers, household names and specialists who will lend their expertise to shape the future of training in their industries. From formulating the courses to reviewing qualification detail and assessments, NCFE is involving the experts every step of the way to ensure the qualifications are suitable for the sectors they support and learners are equipped with the skills they need. 

The Craft and Design T Level gives students the chance to learn about furnituremaking, restoration, and upholstery, which is a growing field with lots of employment opportunities. Through the two-year programme, it qualifies students to progress into this field, with a variety of opportunities for future employment that reflect the design and creativity of the sector. 

Furnituremaking and upholstery is complex, bringing in elements of function, texture, form and more, in order to design and construct furniture. Taking this specialism will help students explore modern design principles to make new pieces. It takes time management, exploration and creativity to complete the work for the course. 

Within the T Level course, students will be expected to learn and keep up with market trends, as well as think creatively about how to use familiar materials. Sustainability and ethics of materials, methods, and the process of producing furniture, is important for the future of the field, and adds an exciting element to the programme. Using various materials will expose students to the complexity and scope of the furniture and upholstery process. 

NCFE has been working closely with experts from across the furniture world to design these qualifications. David Tragen, a furniture designer and artist, described how being part of this process has impacted him directly, by being able to reflect on the details required to produce learning material, which gave him a new perspective on his own work. 

Christian Notley, a chief expert in cabinetmaking, also helped to provide insight to the design of the T Level. He described how the new T Level will create a choice of pathways into the industry, and said it will help bridge the gap between the student and the employer, creating the right fit for both companies and individuals. He urged others working in the industry to do what they can to offer their support. 

The skills from the programme will help to alleviate the skills shortages facing the furniture industry. NCFE is anticipating that the Craft and Design T Level will be an eye-opening and inspiring course for students, granting access to the industry and helping them along their career journeys.

Right now, NCFE is in the initial stages of developing the Craft and Design T Level, and is looking to ensure it lines up with the skills and employment needs of those sectors. NCFE wants sector leaders, practitioners, and experts from across the craft and design industries to get in touch and share their thoughts on what the qualification needs to include and how it should  work. This is an exciting opportunity to shape the upcoming workforce, and future-proof the sector by ensuring any current and future skills gaps are addressed. 

Anyone interested should get in touch via our website, or email [email protected]. Your input can be provided remotely and flexibly to suit you. 

Be part of a once-in-a-lifetime revolution in education which will impact and improve your industry!

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