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

About our furniture programmes

Delivered at the prestigious Rycotewood Furniture Centre in Oxford, our furniture programmes develop your practical and transferable skills to ready you for a career in:

  • Furniture design and making
  • Kitchen design and installation
  • Film and theatre set design and making
  • Interior design and product design
  • Research and development
  • Teaching

The Rycotewood Furniture Centre at City of Oxford College has been delivering furniture training in Oxfordshire since 1938. Rycotewood is a renowned centre of excellence, having started the careers of many young designers and makers.

Excellent workshop facilities are combined with a skilled and knowledgeable teaching team to offer an exceptional experience in furniture education.

We are very proud of the work we do with our students and even prouder to see their achievements recognised in the wider community in the form of awards.

Our students regularly receive the City & Guilds Medal of Excellence, and individuals on the degree course have won the prestigious Alan Peters Award, Mixology Designer of the Year and Young Furniture Makers’ Design and Bespoke Awards.

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Woodwork has been in my family for generations. I enjoy designing new pieces, and I love creating things that have true purpose in the workshop."

Avian, Furniture: Design and Make Foundation Degree

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 UK’s furniture industry is comprised of research and development, design, manufacturing, retail and repair, and is much larger than many people think. Annual turnover in the UK’s furniture sector is over £8 billion, and growing year-on-year.

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.