For some time Proskills members have raised their concerns about the numbers of available young people coming into the Furniture, Furnishings and Interiors Industry (FFI), a sector which Proskills regularly promotes. Keen to alleviate this lack of interest, Proskills have launched the 'MakeIT' programme in support of schools and students. It acquaints students with how furniture is designed and made, and takes them through product research, material usage, sourcing raw (and sustainable) materials through to production of completed pieces.
The project aims to expand learning initiatives as part of the curriculum in support of GCSE and 'A' Level Design Technology and Product Design. It is also relevant to those studying for Diplomas in Creative and Media, and Manufacturing and Product Design.
In addition the project builds commercial 'twinning links' with local employers such as N.E.J. Stevenson who are there to support schools and their students throughout the project. Understandably this brings additional considerations to the process thus further nurturing individual flair and ability.
Participants need to submit their completed project to Proskills by 31st March 2012 and prize winning entries will be selected by an expert judging panel that includes our very own Neil Stevenson. Finalists will be informed by the end of April 2012.
If you would like to know more about the project, please visit Proskills website for more information.
The first ever MakeIT! Furniture awards ceremony which attracted over 3,500 students was held at The National School of Furniture at Oxford & Cherwell Valley College as part of the Summer Show on the 13th June.Oliver Mason of Arden School in the West Midlands won the prize for the best solid wood design and his entry will now be produced from a locally sourced, sustainable tree as part of the OneOak Project. His design attracted high praise from the panel of judges and will now go on to be made from a 160 year old Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) sustainable oak tree from the grounds of Blenheim Palace, in the workshops of The National School of Furniture at Rycotewood Furniture Centre, Oxford.
The prizes were awarded by Jackie Bazeley (British Furniture Manufacturers Association), Paul Preston (Proskills Furniture Industry Lead) Neil Stevenson (NEJ Stevenson Ltd), Gabriel Hemery (The Sylva Foundation) and Chris Hyde (The National School of Furniture), who presented a range of cameras and design equipment to students.
The programme's sponsors included BFM, The National School of Furniture, The Sylva Foundation, Fujifilm, and Pantone, which goes to illustrate the wider commercial importance of the MakeIT! Furniture programme; Jackie Bazeley said the quality of entries points towards a bright future for the industry. “Design lies at the core of the manufacturing process, and the creative industry has an important part to play in economic recovery. Without design, how can manufacturing, fashion and retailing grow? They all start from the creative process. We've got to get young people interested in design and it needs to be promoted in school so that children are aware of it as a potential career option. The MakeIT! Furniture programme is a perfect example of how this can be achieved. We're introducing career options into schools and heightening awareness of the opportunities the furniture industry offers”, Jackie stated.
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