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Warwickshire college student honoured at British Woodworking Federation Awards


Matt Brown and Jamie Ward

An up-and-coming talent of the UK’s woodworking and joinery manufacturing industry has won ‘Trainee of the Year’ at the prestigious British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Awards.

Matt Brown, 35 years old, Royal Leamington Spa College (WCG Group), was recognised for his outstanding achievements, commitment and personal development, beating two other hopefuls shortlisted in the category.

The BWF Awards honour the UK’s very best businesses and individuals within the woodworking and joinery manufacturing industry; an industry worth £3.8 billion to the UK economy.

Jamie Ward, Curriculum Leader Furniture Crafts at Royal Leamington Spa College, said: “Matt has now completed his City of Guilds Level 1 and 2 Furniture Making and Wood machining. During the last two years he has consistently pushed himself and stretched his skills, to become the fine craftsman that he is today.”

Furniture Crafts at Royal Leamington Spa College offers City and Guilds Furniture making and wood machining qualifications Level 1,2 and 3. Skills covered include, hand woodworking skills such as cutting joints by hand or planing, dovetailing, veneering, finishing, laminating, designing and technical drawing. During the courses, the students make various items including a wall cabinet with dovetailed drawers, a mirror frame and a live project, for example a bench.

NEJ Stevenson based in Rugby, who hold the Royal Warrant as cabinetmakers to the Queen, have recently given Matt a job as trainee cabinet maker.

Matt Brown, winner of Trainee of the Year Award, said: “It feels amazing to be recognised for all the hard work I have put in, and a fantastic way to end the Level 2 Furniture Course. The training I’ve received has put me in a position where I feel confident stepping into my new role at N.E.J. Stevenson.  I returned to college in September and am currently completing my Level 3 course and am looking forward to further developing my skills and craftsmanship.”

The Trainee of the Year Award is one of two awards that celebrate the success of the rising stars of the joinery industry. It celebrates the work and/or commitment of those who have entered the industry through alternative routes, including graduates, A-level students and in-house trainees. They may have achieved some fantastic feats in their work, or shown extraordinary commitment that really adds value to a company’s workforce or the production.

The winners of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF) Awards were unveiled at the association’s highly-coveted annual dinner and ceremony in Drapers’ Hall, London, on 24 November.