Course Information

Who is the course for?

This is an exciting and stimulating practical course for those with existing furniture craft skills who want to learn more about designing and making high quality ‘one-off' pieces of bespoke furniture. The course centers around the purpose built furniture workshop and will enable you to develop and improve your practical skills while increasing your knowledge of furniture design and manufacture, with the aim of running your own furniture making business.

What will I study on the course?

There is a mixture of practical and theoretical sessions with a strong emphasis on professional standard practical skills. The course has a very strong bias towards designing contemporary pieces of furniture while reflecting on and maintaining traditional furniture design and manufacturing skills. You will develop your appreciation and knowledge of design principles and then use these skills to design & manufacture a minimum of 2 exhibition standard pieces of furniture.

Craft Studies

  • Furniture construction and assembly
  • Spray finishing
  • Production processes and jig making
  • Wood machining
  • Workshop Health and Safety

Design and Drawing

  • Technical drawing and presentation skills
  • Research skills
  • Design techniques and styles
  • Prototype design and development
  • Sustainable materials
  • Supervision in a commercial workshop

Project Work

  • One minor and one major project of your choice
  • Preparation
  • Realisation
  • Diary and evaluation
  • A timed practical assignment

Business Skills

  • Running a small workshop
  • Costing and selling
  • Professional practice
  • Presentation of ideas and designs

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 situations. These skills include communication, numeracy and IT as well as teamwork, sowing and 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 City and Guilds Level 2 furniture qualification or equivalent, or existing craft experience in working with wood. Your course entry qualifications and experience will be discussed at an informal interview.

What makes this course special?

You will have the opportunity to make at least 2 pieces of furniture of your own choice. These pieces can be designed from scratch, or by using an adaptation of an existing design you have seen. Your designs will be developed with the help of your course lecturers and fellow students. The resulting pieces of furniture will be assessed as part of your coursework.

You will be encouraged to produce your furniture projects to a very high standard which will be at least commercially saleable. This standard will be achieved with the help and encouragement of your Lecturers.

The College has an excellent reputation in the West Country for its furniture courses. Students are encouraged to work towards the highest possible standards in fine Craftsmanship and Design. Our practical based woodwork course takes place in modern, fully equipped workshops and studios.

All the staff involved on the course have an excellent background within the furniture industry. Both full time and visiting lecturers have successfully worked in the field of high quality ‘one off' furniture, making to commission.

During the course you will be encouraged to visit a range of furniture exhibitions, museums and galleries through to commercial furniture workshops.

Students have won national furniture making awards with their furniture including the prestigious Alan Peters award won by Paul Tout at the Cheltenham exhibition in 2011 and have been featured in woodworking magazines e.g. Furniture & Cabinet Making Magazine.

You will have the opportunity of displaying the furniture pieces you have made in an annual exhibition run in collaboration with the Somerset Guild of Craftsmen. This takes place in their permanent gallery in Somerton.

What do our students say?

"The course has an excellent balance between the practical and the theoretical sessions."

"The staff are friendly and helpful. They are all highly skilled and have excellent woodworking backgrounds."

"The workshop is very well equipped."

How will I be assessed?

The course will be continually assessed in conjunction with a timed practical assignment and end of unit theory assignments. You must pass all of the units to gain a full Level 3 qualification. Elements that will be continually assessed include:

  • Practical project work
  • Project diaries and evaluations
  • Discussions
  • Written assignments
  • Small research and design assignments
  • Student presentations

How long is the course?

The course will run for two years, 6.5 hours per week over 34 weeks per academic year.  Day tbc 1.15pm - 9.00pm (subject to change).

Please note this is a two year course and there will be additional fees in the second year.

Will this course lead to a qualification?

You will achieve a full City and Guilds Level 3 5780-30 Diploma in Furniture Design and Making. This is a nationally recognised qualification.

What can I do on completion of this course?

Apart from a variety of career opportunities in the craft trade and self-employment, you could progress to Art, Design or Craft subjects in higher education.

How much will it cost?

There are tuition fees for this course which will be confirmed by June 2014. Students will need to purchase all of the materials for all projects. Students will also need to purchase steel toe capped footwear, a carpenters apron, a 4 ring binder and note pad etc.

Please note this is a two year course and there will be additional fees in the second year.  

Further Course details

What Next?

Contact the Business Development Team on 01278 655111 or email for more information.