Questions about the policy issues raised in the document can be addressed to:

Christine Knox, Regulatory Delivery
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Second Floor
1 Victoria Street
LondonSW1H 0ET
Tel:   020 7215 3465
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Apprenticeships logo

With apprenticeships you can enhance your workforce and introduce a fresh perspective to your business.  An apprenticeship is first and foremost a job and comes with substantial training and the development of transferable skills, which is beneficial to the employer and the employee.  To find out more about the benefits of employing an apprentice please see: http://www.getingofar.gov.uk/employers

Apprentceship Standards, Resources & Assessment Plan

A new government apprenticeship scheme in Furniture Manufacture Level 2 has been developed by the industry and is now available for delivery. The new apprenticeship standard replaces the current apprenticeship framework.Please see the link to the standard and assessment plan for more details: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/apprenticeship-standards#furniture-standards

The employer group has also developed assessment modules to support the delivery of the apprenticeship. The assessment modules cover what apprentices need to do to meet the requirements of the apprenticeship. These are available to download below:

Assessment Modules:
Guides and Resources
The BFM has developed a number of guides to support employers and providers interested in the new apprenticeship standards. These are available to download below: Assessment Plan
Furniture Manufacturer Apprenticeship Assessment Plan

Furniture Industry Qualifications

For employees who don’t require substantial training there are a number of furniture industry qualifications available.  These have been developed in conjunction with employers to ensure they meet the skills required in the industry.  For details of all the current qualifications available please see: http://www.oawards.co.uk/quals/furniture/.

Furniture Industry Qualifications:
OAL L2 in Und FFI Industry Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ Fitted Furniture Installation Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ Bed Making Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ Finishing Furniture Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ Foam Conversion Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ for Furniture CNC Technician Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ in Furniture Making Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ in Furniture Restoration Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ in Modern Furniture Service Repair Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ in Modern Upholstery Leaflet
OAL L2 NVQ in Woodmachining Leaflet

Apprenticeship levy

You will need to pay the apprenticeship levy if you are an employer, in any sector, with a pay bill of more than £3 million each year.

The levy will be charged at a rate of 0.5% of your annual pay bill. You will have a levy allowance of £15,000 per year to offset against the levy you must pay. This means you will only pay the levy if your pay bill exceeds £3 million in a given year.

BFM has produced a guide for all employers operating in the UK, whether you pay the apprenticeship levy or not.

See - BFM guide to the Apprenticeship levy

Views sought on new funding levy model for apprentices
Further details have now been published on the new training levy model for apprentices and views are sought on the proposals which the government intend to implement from May 2017.  The consultation ends on 5th September 2016.   

The levy is paid by companies that have a pay bill over £3 million.  The proposals lay out how it will work in more detail than hitherto, the 15 different levy bands proposed and additional support for smaller companies and those taking on additional apprentices.

Proposals for funding
How it will work
On-line calculator

Draft legislation: regulations for the calculation, payment and recovery of Apprenticeship Levy

HM Revenue and Customs has published in September 2016 a technical consultation on the first set of draft regulations for the Apprenticeship Levy.

The consultation requests comments on the proposed regulations which cover the calculation, reporting and payment of the Apprenticeship Levy. HM Revenue and Customs state that the consultation will be of interest to employers who are likely to have to pay the levy, employer advisers and payroll agencies.

The draft regulations are available online here. Responses should be sent by 14 November 2016.

Funding (England)

Training Providers will be able to provide information on the funding available for apprenticeships and qualifications.  If you are interested in holding a direct contract with Government to draw down funding please see the detailed information on the Skills Funding Agency’s funding rules please see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/sfa-funding-rules

Certification

Information will be available soon.

Providers

There are a number of training providers accredited to deliver the furniture qualifications and apprenticeships.  These providers meet rigorous quality assurance standards and have experience in working with the industry. Please see: http://www.oawards.co.uk/our-approved-centres/

News

Furniture Manufacturer Apprenticeship Standard and Assessment Plan Gets Ministerial Approval

14th September 2016

We are pleased to announce that the new Furniture Manufacturer Apprenticeship Standard and Assessment Plan which has been developed by employers has been approved and is available for delivery.  The standard includes the following occupations:
  • General Furniture Manufacturer
  • Bed Manufacturer
  • Modern Upholsterer
  • Furniture Finisher
  • Fitted Furniture Installer
  • Furniture Restorer
  • Modern Furniture Service Repairer
  • Foam Convertor and Upholstery Cushion Interior Manufacturer
  • Wood Machinist
  • Furniture CNC Specialist
The apprenticeship standard and assessment plan has been published, which will replace current frameworks from 1st December 2016 as part of the Government's apprenticeship reform programme to make apprenticeships more rigorous and more responsive to employers. The apprenticeship standard and Assessment Plan are live here.

Michael Dingwall, Manufacturing Director at Harrison Spinks and Chair of the Steering Group said
“As the furniture industry is so large and diverse the setting of the new standards has been a difficult job. Our steering group and working groups have had representation from across the industry, from SME’s to large scale manufacturers, and trying to ensure everyone had their say and the new standards covered everyone’s views has been somewhat of a challenge. We are so pleased that the Standard and Assessment Plan have been approved and perhaps more so that the approach we have taken now has the required backing.”

“What drove us on was the knowledge that apprenticeships are a good way of getting new people to learn a craft. Up until now there has been no formal apprenticeship that covers Bed Making, Service Repair or Foam Convertor and Upholstery Cushion Interior Manufacturer.”

Occupational Awards, who have provided support to the group, and will become the Registered Apprenticeship Assessment Organisation, said:
“We are delighted about this announcement as it is testimony to the dedication and hard work which the employer-led group has put into this exciting apprenticeship reform’, said Lisa Williamson, Managing Director. ‘The approval of the new Furniture Trailblazer standard marks a significant milestone for the furniture sector.  We welcome this ground-breaking new approach to robust apprenticeships that the government and industry is taking and could not be more pleased with the industry-led design of this new standard. Congratulations to all involved. We would encourage all furniture employers to join the illustrious list of employers already involved’.

“As well as ensuring the future of the workforce there are some immediate and positive benefits for manufacturers – from their point of view the return on investment (ROI) is over £26 for every £1 invested*. A better trained workforce also links to succession planning, better skills and better products, less wastage, fewer mistakes and improved productivity. The final incentive, for larger manufacturers in particular, could be the planned introduction of a new levy on employers next year.”

The Steering Group have also developed supporting modules of assessment to support the delivery of the apprenticeship, these are available to download from the BFM website, the BFM have agreed to host this information on behalf of the industry - see here for details.

About the Furniture Trailblazer Steering Group
The Furniture Trailblazer Steering Group was given the responsibility to redesign the apprenticeship standard by the Government. It includes representatives from: AMUSF, BCFA, Beta Group , Breasley, BFM, Buckingham Palace, Burnley College, City of Oxford College, Clinchplain, Confortex, Cornwall College, Designate, Dewar French Polishers Ltd, DFS, Drury Adams, Duresta, Fibreline, FIRA, Furniture Restoration & Conservation, GNG Foam, Home Improvements, ISM Networks, JKB Shop Fitting, KBBNTG, Lebus Upholstery Ltd, Mark Wilkinson Furniture, Nathan Furniture Ltd, National Bed Federation, North Lancs Training Group, PH Fillings, Proskills, Occupational Awards Limited, Recticel, REM UK Ltd, Senator International, Shire Beds, Silentnight Group, Harrison Spinks, Simpsons Furniture, Sofa Brands International, Steinhoff Manufacturing, Sylvan Enterprises, The Furniture Makers, VCF UK, Vitafoam, Webs, Wendy Shorter Interiors, West Dean College, William Cook Antiques, Windsor Castle, World Skills.

More Information

For more information please contact:

Lisa Williamson - Click here for contact details

Employer NIC for apprentices aged under 25 years abolished. From April 2016 employers of apprentices under the age of 25 will no longer be required to pay secondary Class 1 (employer) National Insurance contributions (NICs) on earnings up to the Upper Earnings Limit (UEL), for those employees.  The UK apprenticeship must be under a  government statutory apprenticeship framework, which can differ depending on the UK country.  Evidence will need to be produced to obtain the relief.

Please see:
Government guidance

HMRC guidance

Contact

Contact:
Lisa Williamson
Managing Director
Occupational Awards Limited
M: 07500 086599
E: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

FreeFOAM LOGOCapture

The partners of the European Union sponsored project FreeFOAM met for the seventh time in Chartres at the facilities of project partner Cosmetic Valley representing the French perfumery and cosmetics industry, on the 15th June 2016. BFM is a partner to the project - please see here for the consortium.

The FreeFoan project officially ended on the 30th April 2016 and this final meeting of the consortium was held to review and confirm the successful outcomes achieved by the partners since the beginning of the project in May 2013.  The ambitious aims and objectives of the project were; to develop  an improved PU foaming process using microencapsulated isocyanate to precisely control the foaming reaction during the production of PUR expanded foam
’  
Against this background the partners have successfully developed a new PUR foam formulation, using microencapsulated isocyanate dispersed in a polyol mixture enabling the reactive foaming process to be precisely triggered with the benefits of re-
duced free isocyanate being released to atmosphere, improved homogeneity of the foam structure and reduced waste, all of which combine to address the health, safety and environmental concerns associated with today's chemistry and process.  

These demonstrated results are to be presented to the European Commission with a comprehensive plan for the use and dissemination of this new knowledge and a commercial plan as to how this can be exploited to secure the benefits for the community and the PUR industry alike. 

For access to a training video.

Also, see INSPISALIA's, a partner to the project, news about the results.

FreeFOAM  is  funded  by  the  European  Union  Seventh  Framework  Programme PFF sponsos(FP7/2007 2013) under grant agreement no. 309283.

For further information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Also visit the Freefoam website