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FIESTA- Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance

Since the launch of FIESTA at the Bridging the Gap Conference on the 6th June (, further meetings have been held to bring together the participating trade associations and other stakeholders and to put in place the key elements of the new Alliance.

FIESTA is chaired by Gary Baker Gary Baker, managing director of CDUK, and the BCFA is providing General Secretariat support for the new organisation. Other participating trade associations include The Association of Master Upholsterers and Soft Furnishers, The British Furniture Manufacturers Association, The Furniture Makers’ Company, The Kitchen, Bedrooms, Bathrooms National Training Group, The Kitchen, Bathroom, Bedroom Specialists Association, The Kitchen Education Trust and The National Bed Federation.

The vision for the Alliance is that FIESTA will unite and inspire the Furniture and Interiors Industry, helping it become an industry of choice within the UK with world-class output through facilitating internationally recognised skills development at all levels across the industry.

 The need for the Alliance is abundantly clear even from the results of the recent government consultation ‘Implementing the English Baccalaureate’ which completely ignored the future impact for the manufacturing sector of the continued decline in the numbers of schools teaching design and technology GCSE.       

The next full meeting of FIESTA is on the 6 September and the two key items for discussion will be: the potential for setting up of a Furniture and Interiors Apprentice Training Agency; and the first steps in a long-term plan to make our sector an industry of choice for school leavers.

Although FIESTA is initially being developed by the sector’s trade associations, its long-term success will depend upon the involvement and enthusiasm of the manufacturers and suppliers. If you would like to get involved with FIESTA then please email me at and we can arrange to speak.

Jeremy Stein

Managing Director