The furniture skills body set up last year to support the industry as the Apprenticeship Levy came into existence is introducing a new initiative to help companies find and manage the next generation of employees.


The Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (FIESTA) is to aid UK furnishing companies find and supervise apprentices by launching a new programme in partnership with the Apprenticeship Management Group.

Called Furniture and Interiors Skills Plus, the programme will offer businesses a specialist apprenticeship recruitment services, Apprenticeship Training Agency and Levy Management Company.

"It will be a pathway for employers to recruit and develop the skills of the next generation," said Gary Baker, chairman of FIESTA, whose members comprise trade associations including the National Bed Federation, British Furniture Manufacturers and The Furniture Makers' Company.

"Companies that sign up to Furniture and Interiors Skills Plus will receive advice and guidance on the best training that is available in the sector."

Mr Baker added that through the programme, micro and SME non-levy paying employers will be able to access a much wider selection of funded skills training, while large employers can outsource the apprenticeship management to obtain best value for money and real time monitoring from their apprenticeship levy digital accounts.

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