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Peter Sefton

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The full time students have returned today, two of them with job offers after work placements over Easter :D and we have had a few phone calls recently from workshops looking for makers.

How is the job market out their for woodworkers in general?

Cheers Peter
 

g7g7g7g7

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I'm really struggling to get my foot in the door anywhere in west Scotland, as an adult retraining there's obviously some difficulties as all the apprenticeship openings in my local area are advertised as exclusively for under 25's there isn't funding in place for adult apprentices. It seems that even when it comes to banging on doors to try and get work placements or experience there's no interest or willingness on the part of local firms to try folk out, nobody is really keen on hiring here at the moment.

I can get another 2 years of college funding and that allows me to network, build my knowledge, skills, portfolio so fortunately I'm not in a desperate rush, and as a back up for not getting employment I'll need a comprehensive business plan that could be supported by a part time wage until it becomes sustainable. I think it's like 90% probable that I'll end up self employed, the odd commission I've had through word of mouth already is encouraging for any future prospects.

As for the market in general here, if you like making kit houses then you're golden, not much else going on.
 

Peter Sefton

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I think a mature student may find it a little tricker than a youngster as their required earnings may be perceived as higher than their potential out put.

When I first started out and whilst still at college, I picked up a Friday afternoon job just helping out in a local workshop, I approached them offering my time for free but they took me on paying a minimum wage to show commitment. This turned into my first full time job although I was self employed.

I am not sure of the work situation in Scotland but locally we seem to have a shortage of makers.

Cheers Peter
 

doctor Bob

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Good skilled men are definitely few and far between. I'm still amazed how some applicants can have 25 years experience in the woodworking industry and still be unable to cut a hinge in tidily.

Well done Peter good reflection on your school.
 

g7g7g7g7

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I think that in Scotland we are behind the growth curve slightly when it comes to these sorts of production trends, in 10 years time we'll be in the situation you are now, unfortunately I think it's going to take people like myself starting these businesses to get us there.

Part of the problem here is taking graduate and trainee woodworkers and giving them space to expand, I expect some social enterprise or development group will eventually set up incubator style workshops to bridge that gap, that's something I'm looking into, there's a dearth of empty industrial space and a good deal of funding available to set these things up. We've got training down, there are loads of avenues to gain skills and great courses, places like Dumfries house are pumping out fantastic heritage skills and fine craftsmen but as far as I can tell the vast majority all relocating south to get work.
 

tomatwark

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The issue with finding work in Scotland is most of the population is in a fairly small area of the country, there are furniture makers in these areas and some of them pay good money.

Once you get out of the central belt things get a bit more patchy.

We are based in the Borders and do take on trainees, school leavers and also older people.

I can only afford to pay what the market will allow us which is a few pounds an hour less than you would get in Edinburgh for example, but the cost of living is less.

The other issue at the moment is the uncertainty with Indyref2.

As a business with about 50% of my income coming from England, if Scotland becomes independent having a border and also a different currency will make a difference to how we are going to have operate.

This means at the moment we have to look very carefully to if we should take anyone on, as there would be a chance that we would be laying folks off.

There is a lot of work around at the moment, but I am paying over time rather than taking the leap into another full time employee.

And like Bob I find finding people who can do the job is really difficult.
 

Adam9453

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It's interesting reading people's experiences, i think there are opportunities around for people with the right attitude and skill set but they are hard to find. I would recommend phoning as many companies as possible and ask them what opportunities they might have that fit your skill set. You might be surprised to find your interest in woodworking combined with transferable skills from your previous career may be just the right fit for a firm.
Other useful skills you could consider learning to increase your appeal, are things like being able to use cad to produce drawings. Cnc machining is a valuable skill and with the plummeting cost of small Cnc routers you could purchase one and teach yourself how to use it, this would look favourable to a potential employer as Cnc machines are finding their way into more and more companies.
I'd also reinforce what Peter said about offering to work for free to gain experience, perhaps a day a week if you can sustain yourself by working the rest somewhere else.
The biggest factor for me is attitude, I'd much rather pick someone who is inexperienced and enthusiastic rather than someone who is experienced but is uninterested.
Once you get your foot in the door, break your back to prove how good a decision it was to let you in.
Good luck
 

slate1234

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we are finding there are not enough hours in the day on site, we have two apprentices and on a £5m job they are the only two on site, prices are going up now for joiners following the brickie's and plasters creaming it in, the firm we are contracting to are moaning they can't find labour, but the biggest problem is when your on a price is slowing down to teach the apprentice how to do things that should be getting taught in college, I have one with me all the time and after 3 weeks I had to teach him how to use a tape, I rang the college and complained only to be fobbed off with its something that should be done on site, he has been with us 2 years and we can send him out on his own, I start with manners, cleaning, then learn woodwork and he is a good lad he was not allowed to use power tools until he could do everything by hand then I allowed him to use power tools because the way I see it you might not have power ot the batteries are dead with one door or a length of skirting to finish.
slate
 

tomatwark

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There are never enough hours in the day.

I have 3 apprentices at the moment and will say I have been really lucky, that they are keen, reliable and want to learn.

And have a really good feel for the work.

We did have 4 but lost one earlier in the year when he realised that he would have to work and not just come in and stand around looking pretty.

The trick for me is being able to keep the 3 I have once they are finished their apprenticeships.
 

Peter Sefton

Wood Workers Workshop
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tomatwark":3f6n0z7s said:
The issue with finding work in Scotland is most of the population is in a fairly small area of the country, there are furniture makers in these areas and some of them pay good money.

Once you get out of the central belt things get a bit more patchy.

We are based in the Borders and do take on trainees, school leavers and also older people.

I can only afford to pay what the market will allow us which is a few pounds an hour less than you would get in Edinburgh for example, but the cost of living is less.

The other issue at the moment is the uncertainty with Indyref2.

As a business with about 50% of my income coming from England, if Scotland becomes independent having a border and also a different currency will make a difference to how we are going to have operate.

This means at the moment we have to look very carefully to if we should take anyone on, as there would be a chance that we would be laying folks off.

There is a lot of work around at the moment, but I am paying over time rather than taking the leap into another full time employee.

And like Bob I find finding people who can do the job is really difficult.

I agree that finding people with the right skills can be tricky and the way training has gone it has narrowed the skills being taught which is a real shame.

Cheers Peter
 

Peter Sefton

Wood Workers Workshop
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Messages
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Threshing Barn, Upton-upon-Severn, Worcs WR8 0SN
Adam9453":353ale0r said:
It's interesting reading people's experiences, i think there are opportunities around for people with the right attitude and skill set but they are hard to find. I would recommend phoning as many companies as possible and ask them what opportunities they might have that fit your skill set. You might be surprised to find your interest in woodworking combined with transferable skills from your previous career may be just the right fit for a firm.
Other useful skills you could consider learning to increase your appeal, are things like being able to use cad to produce drawings. Cnc machining is a valuable skill and with the plummeting cost of small Cnc routers you could purchase one and teach yourself how to use it, this would look favourable to a potential employer as Cnc machines are finding their way into more and more companies.
I'd also reinforce what Peter said about offering to work for free to gain experience, perhaps a day a week if you can sustain yourself by working the rest somewhere else.
The biggest factor for me is attitude, I'd much rather pick someone who is inexperienced and enthusiastic rather than someone who is experienced but is uninterested.
Once you get your foot in the door, break your back to prove how good a decision it was to let you in.
Good luck
I agree that you need to try and understand what your local employers are looking for i.e. CNC or other skills, what can you offer them? But most important is attitude and being prepared to work hard, no one can teach you this :)

Cheers Peter
 
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