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#NAW2018 Apprentice Case Study: Solly

To celebrate National Apprenticeship Week 2018, we’re catching up with some of our brightest apprentices who are building their careers across a range of industries, and finding out how they make a difference to the businesses from their employers.

Today we hear from Solly Carter, a Bench Joinery Apprentice at Stroud Furniture Makers.

19-year-old Solly was inspired at school to choose a career in carpentry. He really enjoyed working with wood and decided to do an apprenticeship with Stroud Furniture Makers to develop his practical skills, whilst learning a life-long trade.

He said: “I’ve always been a motivated person and wanted something I could get up and enjoy every day. I’ve learnt many skills, from setting up machinery to fitting kitchens and furniture; most recently I made solid oak drawers to be fitted into a bespoke kitchen.

“The best thing about my apprenticeship is working in multi-million pound houses and installing kitchens and other pieces of furniture. I also really enjoy being in the workshop and making kitchens. The college side of learning is different to my work; both in good ways. At college I learn how to make staircases and windows, and at work I mainly do cabinet-making. I’ve learnt a lot!

“After completing my apprenticeship at Stroud Furniture Makers I hope they will employ me permanently as I really enjoy working there. Then eventually I would like to go self-employed.”

Nick Croome, Co-Director of Stroud Furniture Makers, says the business is reliant on specialist craftsmen and always keen to bring on new talent to pass on those skills. It has taken on several apprentices in the past and Nick finds it rewarding to see them develop with their guidance.

Nick said: “Previous apprentices have stayed many years and we have benefitted from their fully-developed skills. As a third-year apprentice, Solly now has his own workbench, can work independently on more complex tasks, and learned a wide range of skills, including hand working, machine and some finer cabinet-making skills.

“Alongside our everyday work, we are often fortunate enough to receive commissions which allow us a creative free rein, involving exceptional design and work in other resistant materials, in addition to various timbers. The variety of techniques we practise, both traditional and using newly available products, enables our apprentices to gain a wide range of experience and maintain a high level of interest and inspiration.”

“Apprenticeships are a long-term solution for Stroud Cabinet Makers and in time, we begin to see the commercial results of their developing skillset, and gain satisfaction from having passed on traditional skills which would otherwise be lost.” 

If you’re considering launching your career via the apprenticeship route, find out more about GC’s award-winning apprenticeships, meet employers and apply for live vacancies at its Apprenticeship Open Evening on Wednesday 28 March. Visit to book your place.

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