Chichester College Group

A leader in craft skills for furniture-making and upholstery

A UK and internationally recognised leader in craft skills training in high quality woodwork and furniture, with a large and diverse apprenticeship programme and support for start-ups.

Chichester College Group is a leader in training for furniture-making and upholstery, both in the UK and globally. Chichester College has delivered courses in this area for 50 years but, by 2005, the number of students was in decline. Whilst several other institutions withdrew from this training, Chichester recognised the economic opportunity and importance to its region and took a strategic decision to re-design and invest into its provision. Success was built on an employer-led curriculum that was innovative and flexible.

Over the past 15 years, the college has strived for and achieved excellence – from training multiple gold medal winning students at WorldSkills to achieving success rates consistently above the national average. Two new training centres have been opened at other colleges within Chichester College Group, creating a regional skills ecosystem for the sector with progression pathways from entry level to foundation degrees.

The group plays a central role in supporting growth and innovation, with student work displayed everywhere, from the Ideal Home Show to the Milan Furniture Fair and in Downing Street. Since 2003, there has been a 500% increase in learner numbers and the group has trained more than 300 apprentices and supported nearly 100 start-up businesses.