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BFM member Mark Wilkinson Furniture Ltd wins Apprenticeship Awards


Mark Wilkinson Furniture photo

Back L to R: Designer Mark Wilkinson - Andy Stiles, who started as an apprentice and is now one of the company's Project Managers - Paul Smith, Training Manager (holding the trophy for the South West regional award presented in March) - Anna Spiers, who started as an apprentice and is now working in the company's drawing office - Managing Director Cynthia Wilkinson.

Foreground: Joe Hampton and Oliver Ballinger, who joined Mark Wilkinson Furniture this year to learn their future skills in the company's Wiltshire factory and by studying the Mark Wilkinson Furniture Making course at Trowbridge College.

CYNTHIA WILKINSON, MANAGING DIRECTOR of BFM Members Mark Wilkinson Furniture Ltd., picked up the Learning Skills Council's Apprenticeship Award at a ceremony held at the Royal Horticultural Hall in London on 10th June.


Cynthia, accompanied by her husband, the designer Mark Wilkinson was presented with the award for medium sized employers by Actress Amanda Holden. The award premiere sponsors were City & Guilds. The company's apprenticeship scheme has been in action for over ten years and has had a total of 48 apprentices included on the scheme. The apprentices learn furniture making skills and gain a qualification at NVQ level 3, which they can then use over the span of their career in furniture making. All but two of the apprentices are still working as furniture makers and six out of ten of the apprentices remain at Mark Wilkinson Furniture.


Managing Director Cynthia Wilkinson says, "Our turnover has doubled in the last ten years, a time when much of the UKs furniture making has disappeared, we realised very early that to grow the company in such a rural area, we would need to place a lot of emphasis in training our own skilled people. We are extremely proud to be presented with this award from the Learning Skills Council - it is an award for our company, for the apprentice leaders, Paul Smith and Andrew McCarron, for the apprentices themselves and also for Wiltshire College, which has been extremely supportive over the years."


Mark Wilkinson Furniture worked with Wiltshire College and City & Guilds to adapt an existing Joinery Skills Course into a Furniture-Making Course, which Mark Wilkinson Furniture apprentices now follow up to an advanced level NVQ 3. Mark Wilkinson Furniture operates a skills matrix which ensures skills training remains at the highest level. "Mark Wilkinson Furniture is known for absolute quality and classical designs," says Mark Wilkinson, "we make a lot of one-off pieces of furniture and that requires highly skilled craftsmen. I am proud to say that our people have those skills. The apprenticeship scheme ensures that we will always have a high skill level and the influx of young people brings a fresh view to our company."


For information on Mark Wilkinson - Tel: 01380 850004 - or visit -



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