Apprentice: Furniture manufacture

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The Independent Online

Craig Peacey, 18, is studying a level three NVQ in wood machining at Webs Training College in Nottingham. He is one of four apprentices in a firm of door manufacturers.

"I started my apprenticeship straight away after leaving school. I'd done a few weeks' work experience in a factory, just doing general labour, but I wanted to learn a trade. I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do at first, but I narrowed it down to joinery and furniture manufacturing, and then I found this apprenticeship in a company that makes doors.

"The training part of my apprenticeship is done at Webs Training College, which is a specialist company that trains people up in the furniture trade. I spend one day a week at the college, working on various machines to make component parts for furniture. But a lot of the course is about the planning process behind the machining; it’s like we’re running our own small factory, so we have to plan our time and think about costings.

“I enjoy being at college, but I take things in best by witnessing what's going on. I get more of that during the other four days a week when I’m at work, manufacturing doors, sometimes for apartment buildings, sometimes fire doors, sometimes bespoke doors for a particular client.

"There are three other apprentices where I work, and I try to help them out a bit where I can. Training other people helps reinforce what I've learned, and it's good for my development as well.

"The apprenticeship will take about 18 months, and after that I just want to continue as far as I can with this company. Working while you train gives you a good idea of what to expect from a job and how you'll progress."