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If you have a passion for furniture production and want to broaden your skills and experience, our programmes can help you create a career in this richly rewarding industry.

About our furniture programmes

Rycotewood is a renowned centre of excellence. Excellent workshop facilities are combined with a skilled and knowledgeable teaching team to offer an exceptional experience in furniture education.

But don’t just take our word for it: our students regularly receive the City & Guilds Medal of Excellence, and individuals on the degree programme have won the prestigious Alan Peters Award, Mixology Designer of the Year and Young Furniture Makers’ Design and Bespoke Awards.

You are assigned your own workbench from the beginning, to help you find your feet. Working side-by-side with your peers, you’ll find that the programmes are highly practical and you will spend a lot of time in the workshop.

Furniture programmes develop transferable skills that can lead to careers in:

  • furniture design and making
  • kitchen design and installation
  • interior design and product design
  • research and development
  • teaching

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What is a career pathway?

Education takes time and money. By giving you a clear view of what qualifications you need to get the job and the salary that you want, we take the stress out of learning.

Our career pathway maps show you the entry requirements for each qualification and how long they take to achieve. With each new qualification, you have the option to continue studying at the next level or explore your employment options with a guide to the jobs and salaries you can expect at that stage. Each step of the way, our career advisors are there to help you make the right choice for you.

By focusing on your future employability and opportunities, we hope to inspire in you the drive to succeed and make the most of your investment in education. 95% of students that completed a course with us progressed directly into employment or onto higher-level learning such as a higher-level course, apprenticeship or university study.*
*AL destination data for 16-19 year olds

While the right qualifications can get you a job interview, it’s the attributes that we teach alongside your chosen programme that will get you the job. Click here to find out more about our Attributes and Learning Philosophy.


Our aim is to equip you to be successful in the job market,

whether you are heading for a job straight after your time at

college, plan to take a university-level programme first or are

already working in a part-time job.

What could my future job look like?

Here are some examples of the tasks that you may be carrying out:

  • Cabinet-maker apprentice: learn the principles of cabinet making with a range of materials. With an apprenticeship, you earn while you learn
  • Wood machinist: make parts or even tools, including hand, cutting or measuring tools, to be used as part of the furniture making process
  • Upholsterer: reupholster existing furniture covers or create new ones according to specification for pieces of furniture including sofas and chairs
  • CAD designer: using computer aided design packages, you will interpret a brief and transform it into digital drawings and designs
  • Furniture designer: design furniture pieces that are aesthetically pleasing, useful and comfortable, from home furnishings to office furniture and much more

The furniture industry

The furniture and furnishings manufacturing industry is a substantial growth industry for the UK.

According to 2017 Government statistics, 8,489 UK furniture manufacturing companies contributed £8.76 billion to the country’s GDP and employed over 120,000 people.

A wide range of furniture manufacturers visit Rycotewood Furniture Centre every year. Live design briefs with the likes of Ercol, William Hands and the American Hardwood Export Council give our students unique opportunities to gain feedback from industry professionals.

Our annual Employers’ Day sees representatives from over thirty manufacturers come to City of Oxford College to talk about the wealth of career opportunitities available within furniture.


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Industry partnerships

Our extensive network of partnerships will help you develop invaluable skills and experience.

We work with many furniture manufacturers, including live design briefs with Ercol and William Hands, so you have an opportunity to get feedback from the professionals on your work.

Our annual employers' day and end-of-year exhibition are also excellent opportunities to network with potential employers.