The six young professionals who recently completed The Furniture Makers’ Company’s Young Professional Industry Experience (YPIE) course gave a presentation last week to 45 top industry experts, outlining what they perceive to be the greatest challenges facing the furnishing industry.

Launched in 2014 and principally sponsored by The January Furniture Show, the YPIE course brings together some of the industry’s best and brightest young talent in an intensive three-week learning programme. Nineteen leading industry organisations opened their doors during May and June to provide delegates with an insight into their businesses, including: Anti Copying in Design, Axminster Tools & Machinery, Blum, Cabinet Maker, CD UK, Crofts & Assinder, DFS, ercol, FIRA, Fishpools, The Furniture Ombudsman, Halstock, Howdens Joinery, Hypnos, KI-Rack Systems, Muirhead Leather, Not on the High Street, Panaz, and UBM.

A presentation at the Furniture Makers’ Hall, London, on Thursday 21 July, saw Emily Dwyer, Pavandeep Chahal, Craig Thurston, Meisha-Grace Nicely, Katie Holden and Tom Firth (pictured with Master Ben Burbidge) outline the key concepts they learned from the programme to representatives of the companies they visited, as well as other industry figures. They also addressed the challenges companies in the industry need to overcome, including environmental factors, consumer buying habits, imports & exports, skills shortages and technical innovation.

To support the delegates’ continued development, The Furniture Makers’ Company will offer each of this year’s YPIE group the opportunity to be paired with one of its members to act as a mentor.

Ben Burbidge, Master of The Furniture Makers’ Company, said: “The Young Professionals Industry Experience is a unique opportunity that only The Furniture Makers’ Company, through our membership, is able to create and provide. It represents the pinnacle of our education programme. On behalf of The Furniture Makers’ Company, I would like to thank all of the companies that have supported the 2016 course as well as our main sponsor The January Furniture Show. It is thanks to our network of contacts that we are able to provide such a unique and intensive programme that helps prepare the future leaders of our industry for greatness.”

Cabinet Maker is proud to have been involved in the course, and will publish a detailed feature in the 5 August edition.