Course Information

Who is the course for?

If you are interested in furniture making or fine woodworking, this enjoyable and stimulating course has a strong emphasis on the practical woodworking skills. The course will prepare you with the essential skills you need for employment in the furniture or fine woodworking industry, this may eventually lead onto you setting up your own woodworking business.

What will I study on the course?

You will learn the techniques of making quality furniture. You will use modern machines and hand tools to produce practical tasks as well as your own projects. You will also be taught all of the associated knowledge required for this subject.

The course is two-thirds practical work, with the remainder being theory studies. You will study a wide range of subjects including:

  • Prepare drawings and cuttings lists, select, prepare and maintain tools and equipment, produce patterns and jigs, identify and select timbers and safely use woodworking machinery
  • Use all workshop tools to undertake practical tasks, construct a range of joints, and use methods to produce shaped and veneered parts, construct and assemble furniture projects
  • Fit a range of drawer and cabinet hardware, apply mouldings and finishes and make necessary adjustments to finished pieces

Over the year you will be given set practical tasks to teach you making processes and help you to gain confidence with your practical skills. You will increasingly be encouraged to develop your own ideas in your work that reflect your own sense of style. In the design studio you will learn background theory to working in wood and constructing furniture, alongside drawing and design skills. At the end of the year you will have completed at least one well finished piece of furniture along with numerous other practical tasks and exercises.

What other skills will I acquire?

As well as theoretical knowledge and practical furniture skills, you will also develop skills which help prepare you for a life after college e.g. the workplace, university and social institutions. These skills include communication, numeracy and IT as well as teamwork, acceptance of others viewpoints, creative skills working with technology etc. we are very keen to develop the whole person both physically and mentally.

What will I need for the course?

You will need to achieve at least 5 GCSEs in the A* - E range, with 2 at a minimum of a D grade, or an appropriate Level 1 qualification. Your abilities will be assessed at the interview. You will also need a desire to learn about furniture making and a love of working with wood. All of the tools and equipment will also be provided for you, but we do encourage students to obtain a basic set of tools and drawing equipment for their own use. All the materials for set projects are provided, however, you will be expected to finance your own final major project; help may be available through the Bursary Fund.

What makes this course special?

The College has an excellent reputation for its furniture courses as students are encouraged to work towards the highest possible standards in craftsmanship and design. The overall standard of students' work is consistently high and achievement is well above the national standard. Students from this programme regularly take part in competitions and in September 2010 one of our students achieved Gold in the national Skillbuild final.

Superb Facilities

All our practical based woodwork courses take place in fully equipped workshops. As well as gaining valuable skills on modern woodworking machines, you will also have the opportunity to experience woodturning, marquetry, traditional and spray finishing.

Visits

During the year you will have the opportunity to be involved in a number of visits ranging from furniture exhibitions, museums and galleries, through to professional furniture workshops. These include the NEC Furniture Show, the Devon Guild and the local craft studios.

Experienced Staff

All staff involved on the programme has an excellent background within the furniture industry. Both full time and visiting lecturers have successfully worked in the field of high quality commissioned furniture and are enthusiastic in sharing their vast experience and knowledge.

What do our students say?

"I really enjoyed the course and as a result now have a job with a local woodturning company."

"The staff are really knowledgeable and supportive."

"The flexible workshops enable me to put in extra hours if I need to."

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed on all of the practical projects and tasks that are set. You will produce a portfolio of evidence that will include written worksheets and theory assignments. There is also a multiple choice theory examination.

How long is the course?

The course will run over one year. You can either study two 1/2 days per week 9.00am-4.30pm for 35 weeks or one afternoon and evening per week for 34 weeks 1.15-9.00pm.

Will this course lead to a qualification?

You will achieve a full City and Guilds Level 1 qualification that is nationally recognised.

What can I do on completion of this course?

You can progress onto our higher level furniture courses (at levels two and three), or seek employment in a variety of career opportunities in Furniture making and Woodworking.

Alternatively a foundation degree in Furniture Studies at a specialist Furniture College/University, a BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art, Design and Craft, or any other design or construction based subject dependant on achieving an appropriate level of qualification.

What can I do in addition to this course?

It is possible to study an AS, A2 or GCSE alongside the course and we will actively encourage you to take either GCSE English or Maths if you achieved a disappointing grade. Past students have also studied additional related subjects including City and Guilds Computer Aided Design and GCSE Photography.

In addition, there will be opportunities for you to widen your interests, develop new skills and, in some cases, gain additional qualifications. Current extra-curricular activities; Duke of Edinburgh Awards; Choir; Orchestra etc.

How much will it cost?

The cost of materials for any extra projects that a student undertakes will be an additional cost. Students will also need to purchase steel toe capped footwear, a carpenters apron, a 4 ring binder and note pad etc.

Further Course details

What Next?

Contact the Business Development Team on 01278 655111 or email business@bridgwater.ac.uk for more information.