The Furnishing sector offers a diverse range of jobs in many different companies both large and small. All kinds of furnishings are needed for commercial and residential use. You could work with timber dining suites, sofa beds, mattresses, kitchens, blinds and awnings or you could produce desks and chairs, workstations and airport seating.
The sector has high levels of trade qualifications and a strong tradition of on-the-job training. You will gain skills in jobs such as Wood Machining, Cabinet Making, Furniture Polishing, Upholstery, Interior Design and Glazing. You could also lay floor coverings or produce soft furnishings like curtains and bedding.
The Furnishing industry offers a diverse and interesting range of rewarding career opportunities. People wishing to pursue a career in the industry can choose to work in any of the following key industry sectors:
Floor covering and finishing
Cabinet Making / Furniture making/finishing
Glazing and glass processing
Interior decorating and furnishing
Mattress and bed making
Musical instrument making and repair
Floor Covering and Finishing
Floor Finishers and Coverings install and repair floor coverings such as carpet, vinyl, rubber, cork, parquetry and timber floors. A worker in this industry could expect to install carpet tiles, adhesive fixed carpet and or welded resilient flooring. You could also learn to prepare timber floors for finish coating and apply finishes to timber or parquetry or cork. There is an opportunity to specialise in mixing epoxy coverings, installing parquetry flooring, or even sports flooring for gyms or basketball courts.
People working in this area will develop skills in computer design, concept development, material and fabric technologies and ergonomics, along with an understanding of the manufacturing process to create anything from a simple dining chair, filing cabinet or one-off custom orders.
Cabinet Making / Furniture Making/Finishing
In this area, a worker could work as a wood machinist, upholsterer, furniture maker, furniture finisher, cabinetmaker. Workers will learn to select and prepare timber and use power tools for the building and installation of kitchen cabinets or the building of dining suites and lounge furniture. It is a very hands on industry that provides valuable and transferable skills.
Glazing and Glass Processing
Glaziers and glass processors work in a variety of environments. You may work outdoors at construction sites, sometimes on scaffolds, in factories installing glass in wooden or metal frames, or in shops replacing glass in vehicles or furniture. A worker in this sector could expect to measure jobs, produce shop drawings, mark and cut glass to fit, secure, weatherproof and fabricate aluminium window parts, read and interpret drawings, specifications, plans and procedures for installation, produce display cases, shower doors, windows, skylights, mirrors and doors. There are also opportunities to specialise in various areas such as sandblasting for design purposes.
Interior Decorating and Furnishing
Interior decorators work with both domestic and commercial clients, providing advice on colours, fabrics, furniture and soft furnishings to develop a style or image for the client. There is also a demand for good sewing machinists to make soft furnishings such as cushions and curtains, and workers in this area would learn to read or create patterns, cut materials and assemble items to the designers specifications.
Mattress and Bed Making
The manufacture of good mattresses and bed bases depends on many years of research and a technology that employs high tech fibres, inner spring support systems, mulit-layer upholster and coil configurations. A worker in this area could expect to be involved in production using skills in developing patterns, cutting materials and using specialist machinery throughout the assembly process.
Musical Instrument Making and Repair
Usually considered as a specialisation of Cabinet Makers, a musical instrument maker builds, repairs and restores musical instruments, and adjusts or alters them to meet the owner's specifications. A worker in this industry could specialise in a particular instrument or family of instruments and would use a large variety of materials and equipment. An example of further specialisation would be a piano technician who tunes, maintains and repairs pianos.
Picture framers make frames for a variety of pictures and paintings, and a worker in this sector could expect to assist customers in the selection of material, style, size, colour and design, to best compliment the article. You would work with many different materials such as timber, aluminium and glass, learn about moulds, paints, stains and varnishes and develop skills in wood machining, wood finishing, French-polishing, cabinet making, wood carving and gilding.
To find an approved Registered Training Organisation that delivers the MSF Furnishing Training Package, click here.
To learn more on how to obtain skills at school, download a copy of the 'Furnish a Future' brochure.